I confess: I keep hearing the siren call of French recipes with those wonderful sauces.
I have found a French Chef who shares my love of sauces and is willing to share his secrets and techniques. A few weeks ago, I attended a cooking class at Plate It Up! taught by Chef Bernard Chirent. Chef Bernard is French, learned his trade from French masters, and had is own restaurant in Paris. After emigrating to the USA about 10 years ago, he was the Executive Chef at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. (The Fairmont is that beautiful grand old hotel at the top of Nob Hill.)
He lives here in Arizona now and is in the process of opening his own restaurant in Goodyear. Meanwhile, he is sharing his knowledge and passion with us amateurs.
A couple of weeks ago, Chef Bernard taught a French Cooking class in which he shared his technique for making Beurre Blanc. When I learned he would be teaching a class on the mother sauces I had to attend.
We started with Holandaise. Just egg yolks, clarified butter, salt, and white pepper. Served over a tower of asparagus spears with a little chopped tomato, it tasted as good as it looked.
With Hollandaise in hand, we used it to make Bearnaise. Just add a reduction of shallot, red wine vinegar, and tarragon to the Hollandaise to make Bearnaise.
And then to the Bearnaise, we added some diced tomato to create Chorron sauce. Here you can see the Bearnaise (top) and Chorron (bottom). While all these were great, for me the Bearnaise was seriously good. I could have licked the plate. I'll be in the new house in about six weeks and I'm going to try some over baked potato. (I'm told that Bearnaise turns French Fries into a heavenly treat.)
We're not done yet. Not by a long shot.
How about a mustard sauce over sear-roasted pork tenderloin? Sear-Roast the pork. De-glaze the pan with about 1/4 cip white wine and let it reduce to almost nothing. Add about a cup pf a 50-50 mixture of grainy (stone-ground) mustard and water. Add a little veal stock and some cream. Let it reduce just a bit.
I love pork tenderloin anyway but this was just heavenly.
Finally, how about some Bordelaise Sauce over beef skirt steak? Imagine startng with a couple chopped shallots and 3/4 bottle of red wine. Let it reduce down to about 1/2 a cup. (Oh man was this sauce rich!) Add about an equal amount of veal stock. Then add a stick of butter (cut into small pieces, added a little at a time).
I've had Bordelaise before but it was nothing like this. There was a richness and depth there that I've never before experienced.