I got back to school at around noon today, just in time to join my class for the afternoon practicum on sauces.
I’m not sure about you, but I’ve never really been one to experiment much with sauces. Besides pasta toppings and maybe something on a special dish, I don’t usually give them a second thought. Today, though, we made a wide variety of sauces that could change just about any dish dramatically.
The first thing I worked on was an almond sauce, made with soaked blanched almonds, shallots reduced in white wine, canola and olive oils, vegetable stock and an entire head of roasted garlic.
I didn’t try any of the finished products today (I’m still nervous to subject my stomach to things like umeboshi paste and pureed bell peppers), but the general consensus was that this was a garlic sauce, not an almond one. I could tell that just by the smell of it- definitely potent!
I also worked on a parsley-pumpkinseed pesto, which eventually went atop udon noodles.
There are tons of variations on pesto (you can use just about any herb and nut/seed imaginable), but I’d never considered parsley as an option for it. It smelled very…green, to say the least, but seemed to go over well with the rest of the class.
Speaking of pestos, there were two other varieties, as well: a classic basil-pinenut mix, and a mint-pistachio one that went unpictured.
The pestos were popular, but not the udon noodles. I’m not a fan, either- they just taste so overpowering to me!
Other sauces included yellow curry (far left) and yellow bell pepper coulis (far right), with rice for tasting:
A creamy beurre blanc, with heavy cream and three sticks of butter (probably one of the most stereotypically “unhealthy” dishes we’ll make in this program):
A bright red carrot-beet sauce, which I was told tasted like tomato sauce (alongside the unmixed parsley pesto):
A leek-asparagus coulis and a chimichurri sauce,
The latter of which was drizzled over grilled seitan skewers.
A red pepper coulis and a slightly over-kuzu’ed (kuzu is a thickening agent) mushroom sauce that turned a bit gelatinous:
And two variations on a corn hollandaise, both with and without butter.
Though it was kind of a bummer not to try everything, I’m glad I erred on the safe side and stuck to some bland Cheerios and a banana as an afternoon snack. My appetite isn’t quite back yet, so I don’t want to mess with it too much. Tomorrow we’re covering poultry, which I’m actually excited for…I’ve never tried cooking chicken by myself before, so I’m eager to learn!
How frequently do you use sauces in your cooking? And what’s your all-time favorite type of sauce? Um…does chocolate sauce count?