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7 Healthy Sauces and Dressings for Different Dishes

  1. 1. 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 dry sherry. 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
  2. 2. 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 sauce. 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.) ▼▼▼
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. 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 SALT PEPPER 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
  5. 5. 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 SALT PEPPER
  6. 6. CAYENNE 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 juice. ▼▼▼ 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 PIMIENTOS 2 TEASPOONS CHIVES
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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 about Susan Alexander and her contribution to the truffle industry by visiting our website.

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