Making sauces from scratch is the best way to get the flavor that you want to enhance your own recipes. It's easy to do, just check out these recipes of different sauces and dressings to complement your favorite dishes.
7 Healthy Sauces and Dressings for Different Dishes
7 Healthy Sauces and Dressings for Different Dishes
This section deals with the sauces and dressings called for in other parts of the book.
It contains some specific recipes for both and some general observations about
preparing sauces. The putting together of dressings requires no general comment.
The individual recipes which precede this section usually include directions for
making the appropriate sauce or dressing, but when either is needed in several
different dishes, the recipe for it will be found here.
The basis for all orthodox sauces is a combination of butter or other shortening, such
as chicken fat, and flour, called a roux. To this is added stock, milk or cream, and
seasoning to make the sauce. A recipe to make three cups of sauce for creamed
sweetbreads, for example, calls for: three tablespoons butter, five tablespoons flour,
two and a half cups stock, one half cup cream, salt and pepper, and three tablespoons
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, add half the flour, and stir with a
wooden spoon until the flour has been absorbed. Gradually add the rest of the flour,
stirring it well into the butter until the roux is dry, when it should be cooked for
about five minutes but still stirred to prevent burning. When the roux is cooked,
remove it from the fire and gradually pour in hot stock, stirring madly the while. If
lumps form, you are adding the liquid too fast, or not stirring madly enough. (The
lumps can usually be removed by beating with a wire whisk or a rotary egg beater.)
When the stock has been added, put in the cream, still stirring, and season with salt
and pepper. Place the sauce over a low flame, and, stirring still, cook it until it begins
to bubble. Pour in the sherry; mix it well. The sauce is now done. Additional cooking
will thicken it. (If it is too thick, thin it by adding more stock, milk, or sherry.) This
process will take between fifteen and thirty minutes depending on the quantity of
In many instances you can save time in making sauces, as you will have noted in
some of these recipes, by using cream soups. The principle of making a sauce from a
soup is exactly the reverse of making it from a roux. With a roux the sauce starts from
nothing, so to speak, and is thickened gradually until it reaches the desired
consistency. When a sauce is made from a soup, the "Looking Glass" method is used
and the sauce started backwards. The soup is too thick to begin with, and the
problem is to thin it to the desired consistency. This is done by adding liquid, usually
milk or cream, over a low heat. The danger is too much heat, which will thin the
sauce further. (If the sauce should become too thin, it can be thickened by a little
corn-starch combined with two tablespoons of the thin sauce; stir into the sauce and
allow to heat until it regains the desired consistency.)
These diametrically opposite principles in sauce making are summed up in
Lansdown's Law, "The longer an orthodox sauce is cooked, the thicker it becomes,
the longer a Looking Glass sauce is cooked the thinner it becomes." Hence when
making a sauce from a cream soup, thin it to the desired consistency with a liquid
over a low heat, and gradually bring it to the proper temperature but never let it boil.
A rather longer way of saying that an orthodox sauce has to be cooked, a sauce based
on soup is already cooked. The process of making a sauce from soup takes between
five and ten minutes.
If you will remember Lansdown's Law, and the first law of sauce making, "The dryer
the roux the thicker the sauce," you will be well equipped to face the saucepan.
Another and related matter which differs in the two methods described above is that
of seasoning, the constant variable which prevents cooking from being a science and
keeps it an art. Not only is the cream soup used for a sauce pre-cooked; it is also pre-
seasoned, at least with salt and pepper. Taste it carefully before adding more salt,
pepper, or other herbs and spices. You should taste an orthodox sauce, too, but there
is less danger of spoiling it with too much seasoning.
Extraneous thought on seasoning: any cook who would put pepper in a curry should
be de-aproned and beaten over the head with his own ladle. Extra extraneous
thought on seasoning: any guest who seasons his food before tasting it should not be
a guest again. (Of course you may end up with no guests at all.)
FRENCH DRESSING 1 PINT
For all green salads and most others, French Dressing is basic. It consists of olive oil,
vinegar, salt, and pepper; nothing more, nothing less. You may add things to it—
mustard, cheese, various herbs, or even bacon, and have an excellent combination for
salads, but you will not have French Dressing. The dressing will keep almost
indefinitely, but should not be stored in the refrigerator. Oddly enough the
ingredients combine better if mixed in a small bowl or cup embedded in ice. Any type
of vinegar— wine, malt, or cider-may be used, but red wine vinegar is to be preferred.
½ CUP RED WINE VINEGAR l½ CUPS OLIVE OIL
1 TEASPOON SALT
½ TEASPOON PEPPER
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl or bottle, stir well with a fork or shake
vigorously, depending on the container. Repeat the stirring or shaking process
immediately before using.
MUSTARD DRESSING ¼ CUP
With a very bland salad, such as Mixed Green Salad III (qv) or one made with
Belgian endive alone, something with a little more "bite" than the classic French
dressing may be useful occasionally. This Mustard Dressing is not too strong and
enjoys wide popularity. It should be made just before use, and in sufficient quantity
for that time and that salad only.
Photo owned by Ranier Zenz
1 TEASPOON DRY MUSTARD
1 TABLESPOON RED WINE VINEGAR
3 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL
¼ TEASPOON SALT
1/8 TEASPOON PEPPER
Place the mustard in a cup or a small bowl. Add the vinegar and stir into a smooth
paste with a fork. Add the oil, salt, and pepper. Put an ice cube into the mixture, and
stir hard until the ingredients are well blended. Discard the ice cube, and pour the
dressing over the salad.
ROQUEFORT DRESSING ¼ CUP
Roquefort Dressing is similar to Mustard Dressing in several ways. It uses French
Dressing as a base, but has more tang; it is useful with the same salads, enjoys wide
and deserved popularity, and should be made just before it is needed. The cheese
should be mature and not too moist, so that it crumbles easily.
1 TABLESPOON ROQUEFORT CHEESE
1 TABLESPOON VINEGAR
3 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL
Crumble the cheese. Put the vinegar and oil into a small bowl embedded in ice. Add a
generous pinch of salt and a niggardly pinch of pepper. Put in the cheese and stir well
with a fork, without, however, breaking up the cheese too fine. Use at once.
THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING L½ CUPS
Two minor mysteries are connected with Thousand Island Dressing: where it got its
name, and why it is called a dressing and not a sauce. At first it would seem that the
bits of hard-boiled egg embedded in it are supposed to look like the Thousand
Islands, which they may, but the rest of the dressing bears no resemblance to the St.
Lawrence, a blue and noble stream. Perhaps it could be the Thousand Islands in the
Java Sea which the egg is supposed to resemble:. Or perhaps the recipe was invented
in one place or the other. Just why this mixture, no matter its name, is called a
"dressing" and listed usually with salads, and not a "sauce" and listed with seafood is
equally strange. It makes a splendid dip or sauce for all seafood cocktails except
clams and oysters, and is a pleasant change from Hollandaise with cold artichokes.
How well it combines with artichokes and crab is demonstrated in (qv). You will find
many other uses for it.
1 CUP MAYONNAISE
2 TABLESPOONS CHILI SAUCE
1 TABLESPOON MINCED GREEN PEPPER
1 TABLESPOON MINCED ONION
1 HARD-BOILED EGG, CHOPPED FINE
Photo owned by Ranier Zenz
In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients except the egg. When the mixture is
thoroughly stirred, add the chopped egg and stir it in gently but well.
HOLLANDAISE ABOUT 1 CUP
Hollandaise is one of the most important sauces in cookery. It is excellent with cold
artichokes or hot asparagus and broccoli, essential with Eggs Benedict, and
furthermore it has a wide application with cold seafood, to mention some of its uses.
Making Hollandaise, however, is a tricky business, time consuming and fraught with
vicissitudes and sometimes disaster. The man or woman who invented this version
deserves, therefore, a medal, a sterling silver serving salver for asparagus, and an
annual testimonial dinner financed by the amateur chefs of America. This heroic
recipe, short and simple as the annals of the poor, produces a sauce which is
extremely difficult to distinguish from the original. The proportions may vary
considerably with the size of egg yolks and of lemons, but let that not worry you; the
sauce is well-nigh impossible to ruin in the making.
2 EGG YOLKS
½ CUP CREAM
JUICE 1 LEMON
2 TABLESPOONS BUTTER
Place the egg yolks, the cream, and the lemon juice in a small saucepan directly over
a low fire, and beat gently but steadily with a fork until the mixture begins to thicken.
Season with a little salt, half as much pepper, and a small pinch of cayenne. Remove
from fire, add the butter, and stir it in. Return to fire and continue to cook slowly and
beat gently until the sauce is hot through and smooth. It may be used at once, kept
hot in a double boiler, or put in the refrigerator to cool. If the sauce is too thin, or you
desire a stiff Hollandaise, add more butter. If it is too thick, thin it with more lemon
RUSSIAN DRESSING 1½ CUPS
It was Catherine the Great who said, when told that the masses were milling in the
streets clamouring to be clothed: "If they have no Russian dressing let them eat
caviar straight." This sublime utterance—its majesty loses in translation—would
indicate that even in those days, Russian dressing contained caviar. Yet occasionally
one sees a recipe which omits it, which is a little like making a Tom Collins without
gin. You get a drink all right, but who wants it? Russian Dressing is similar in many
respects to Thousand Island Dressing. It is good with seafood and avocados, is
frequently called for in canapés and hors d'oeuvre, and, as its name implies, is even
sometimes used as a dressing for salads.
Photo owned by Rick
1 CUP MAYONNAISE
2 TEASPOONS CHIVES
½ TEASPOON FRESH PEPPER
3 TABLESPOONS CHILI SAUCE
2 TEASPOONS CAVIAR
Put the mayonnaise in a small bowl. Chop the pimientos and the chives very fine.
Add them to the mayonnaise, and grate the pepper over them. Pour the chili sauce
into the bowl. Mix well and stir in the caviar. Normally the dressing is used cold.
MARINARA SAUCE 1½ PINTS
Earlier in this book, in the section on eggs, to be exact, mention was first made of this
extremely useful sauce, which will improve many foods, including chicken, veal, and
seafood. The recipe was given me by Francis Di Lello one evening while he was still at
the Baccara in New York, when I told him I was writing a cookbook and would very
much like a recipe from him. He gave me several, all of which I am happy to pass on,
but none more valuable than Marinara Sauce. One great advantage it has over many
other sauces is that it will keep under refrigeration for some six weeks. In addition it
can be made in about half an hour, so that if you do not have it on hand, you can still
use it in preparing a rapid meal.
Photo owned by Andrew Bossi
2 CUPS (l TIN) ITALIAN TOMATOES
1 CUP OLIVE OIL
2 CLOVES GARLIC
1 TEASPOON BASIL
1 TEASPOON ORÉGANO
½ TEASPOON SALT
¼ TEASPOON PEPPER
Strain the tomatoes through a colander and place them in a saucepan. Add the olive
oil. Mince the garlic very fine or put it through a garlic press, and place in the
saucepan. Add the basil and orégano, salt and pepper, stir all well, cover, and simmer
quietly for half an hour. If it loses too much liquid, add a little water from time to
time, but not much.
This reproduction is made possible by Susan Alexander Truffles. Find out more
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