Welcome to the last Lesson of our monthly ‘menu deconstruction’. Don’t forget to keep these posts handy as we’ll be testing your knowledge in the form of an exciting competition in November.
Lesson 4: Types of Sauces and Dressings
AIOLI [eye-YO-lee] – The French word for garlic is “ail.” Aioli is garlic-flavoured mayonnaise made from pounded cloves of garlic, egg yolks, oil, and seasoning. Just before it is served, lemon juice and a little cold water are added. It is served as a sauce for a variety of garnishes and main courses.
BEURRE NOIR [bur nwahr] – French for sweet butter that has been cooked until it has just turned a light shade of brown. Wine vinegar, capers and parsley are then added.
BÉCHAMEL SAUCE [bay-shah-mel] – In France it is one of the four basic types of sauces called “meres” or “mother sauces” from which all other sauces derive. It is also known as “white sauce.” It is a smooth, white sauce made from a roux made with flour, boiled milk and butter. It is usually served with white meats, eggs and vegetables and forms the basis of many other sauces.
BÉARNAISE SAUCE [bair-naz] – It is a variation of hollandaise sauce. White wine or vinegar, diced shallots, tarragon, and peppercorns are cooked together, reduced and sieved and then added to hollandaise sauce. Often served with beef and fish.
CHAUD-FROID [shoh-frwah] – A French word that means “hot-cold.” A type of sauce that is prepared hot, but served cold. It is usually used as a decorative coating for meats, poultry and/or seafood and classically made from béchamel, cream or aspic.
CHASSEUR SAUCE – Chasseur is French for hunter. It is a hunter-style brown sauce consisting of mushrooms, shallots and white wine (sometimes tomatoes and parsley). It is most often served with game and other meats
KETCHUP [kech-uhp ] – A thick, sweet sauce made with tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. Most American ketchups are made with tomatoes. The F. & J. Heinz Company of Pennsylvania sold the first bottled tomato ketchups as of 1876.
MORNAY SAUCE – A type of cream sauce made with cheese often served with fish, eggs, vegetables, and pasta.
OYSTER SAUCE – A Cantonese seasoning that is a staple condiment of Chinese cooking. This rich brown sauce is made with boiled oysters and seasonings (soy sauce, salt, and spices). The ingredients are cooked until thick and concentrated. A good oyster sauce is never fishy.
PUTTANESCA [poot-tah-NEHS-kah] – A piquant pasta sauce of tomatoes, onions, black olives, capers, anchovies and chili flakes. The hot pasta is tossed in this sauce prior to serving.
PUREE [pu-ray] – A French term for “mashed”. Puree is obtained by pounding, mashing, and sieving a food.
PESTO [PAY-stoh] – Pesto is Italian for a “pestle.” The dish pesto was so called because crushing the ingredients in a mortar with a pestle produced the paste made. It is an uncooked sauce used for pastas, grilled meats, and poultry and is made with fresh basil, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese. Some versions will also add parsley and walnuts or pine nuts. The ingredients are ground into a paste and moistened with olive oil.
SALSA [SAL-sa] – Mexicans define a salsa as a sauce and all sauces as salsas. Salsas can be a mixture of raw or partially cooked vegetables and/or fruits, herbs, and of course, chilies. Anything from vegetables, fruits, and nuts, to fish and meat can be used to make salsa, as long as the flavours blend well. The combined ingredients are distinct pieces and are often uncooked.
TARTAR SAUCE [tar-ter] – A mayonnaise dressing for fish and seafood, usually with chopped pickles, onions, olives, capers and green herbs added.
VINAIGRETTE [vihn-uh-GREHT] – A sauce made with vinegar or a combination of vinegar, oil and seasonings.
VELOUTE SAUCE [veh-loo-TAY] – Also called sauce blanche grasse or rich white sauce. Also one of the five types of “mother sauces“. It is a stock-based white sauce that can be made from chicken, veal, or fish stock thickened with white roux.
VERJUS, VERJUICE [vair-ZHOO] – Verjus is a French term that when translated into English means “green juice.” It is a medieval condiment that was once a staple of French provincial cooking and is now enjoying a worldwide revival. Verjus is made from semi-ripe and unfermented wine grapes. The grapes are hand-picked from the vine during a period called veraison, when the grapes change in colour and the berries begin to soften enough to press. Because verjus is made from wine grapes and shares the same acid-base as wine, it is an elegant and delicate alternative to vinegar and lemon juice as it is “wine friendly” and will not distort the essence of the wine you serve.
Now that we’ve demystified a few more culinary terms and titillated your taste buds, why not book a table at Signal Restaurant where you can choose between the Gourmet and pure Vegan Tasting menu or the a la carte menu. Our Executive Chef, Malika van Reenen, uses only the freshest ingredients to create dishes that reflect our Cape heritage, so don’t miss out. To book, call 021 410 7080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Look out for our Competition in November!