Archive for the ‘Sauce’ Category

Mini-whisk

Friday, April 17th, 2009

I come from a family of cooks.  We spend a lot of time jawing on the phone about what we ate last night or last week, what we’re making tonight, and what’s the recipe for that German Apple Pancake again?  When one of us cooks in miniwhiskanother’s kitchen, there’s the inevitable rummage in the utensil drawer followed by the incredulous question: “don’t you have a _______?”  Personally, I can’t believe my own flesh and blood survived without tongs for so long, and most recently, my mom helped me up my game with the small-but-mighty mini whisk.  It’s the perfect tool for blending oil into vinegar, or butter into some reduced wine for a pan sauce.   I am not one to spring for random kitchen gizmos (although egg pants are hard to resist), but this is a tool I now use at least three or four times a week.  Thanks, Mom!

Pan Sauces

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Lately, I’ve been making pan sauces for just about everything. It takes just a few seconds to throw some chopped shallots, butter, herbs, and wine into a pan in which you’ve just fried up some steak or fish or whatever. You can use white, rosé or red (whatever you’re drinking,) any herbs you like, and any other ingredients you find appealing. I like a pan sauce with shallots, white wine, lemon pulp, and capers (and/or sea beans) for fish, and just a simple red wineshallottarragon sauce is killer on a rib eye. I’d love to try something with fruit for pork chops or duck breast, maybe plums and cherries. The one at right is a hanger steak with the most basic of all pan sauces — just a little butter, shallot, and red wine.

Basic Pan Sauce (with variations)

1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup wine (a goodly slosh)
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
(fresh or dried herbs to taste)
(sliced mushrooms)
(capers or sliced olives)
(sea beans)
(chopped fruit)
(etc.)

Pan fry, sauté, etc, whatever it is you want to sauce. When cooked, move from pan to a plate and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve. Return the empty pan to medium-high heat, and add 1 tbsp butter. Swirl around the pan to melt, and then add shallots. Add any other ingredients you like, though if you’re using fresh herbs, it’s best to wait to add them until the shallots are wilted. More substantial additions like mushrooms can go right in with the shallots. When shallots are nice and wilted, add wine and swirl around the pan until it’s almost entirely reduced and the sauce has a somewhat thickened consistency. Plate up your delicious oven-warmed food items, and top with your pan sauce creation.