There is an old saying that in England there are 360 religions and 3 sauces, while in France there are 360 sauces and 3 religions. The importance of sauces in French cuisine cannot be underestimated. In fact, France earned its gastronomical fame because of the complexity and variety of its sauces. Once used to mask the unpleasant odor and taste of meat going “off”, sauces gained popularity among the noble and became a way for cooks to create unique dishes with limited ingredients.
Today, sauces are still taken very seriously, especially in fine dining. A brown sauces starts with roasted veal bones and browned vegetables that simmer for days in vats on the stovetop. Excess fat is painstakingly skimmed from the top and the sauce is closely monitored so that it reduces to exactly the right consistency.
It is neither practical nor necessary for home cooks to spend days making a sauce. A simple sauce can enhance the natural flavors of a dish with verylittle additional effort. If you’re the type of cook who likes no-fuss dinners such as grilled or broiled meats, hearty potatoes and crisp green salads, think about adding a few sauces to your repertoire to make these simple meals spectacular.
Below are some of my favorite saucy dishes. Enhance your sauce-making skills with these recipes and then create a few of your own. Your gastronomic fame will rise with each iteration.