French classic cuisine has at its hean a large variety of butter egg cream and brown sauces. Sauce making is one of the greatest of culinary arts which requires above all else supreme care and also patience This care and patience begins with the ingredients and carries through to the stock to the concern for its texture and colour to its reduction and the many hours of careful cleaning skimming and sieving. All these steps require method application love and a good eye.
Sauces have been my all consuming passion and I find it unfortunate that these days they seem to be disappearing replaced by so called jus which to my mind is little more than coloured water. It is a word I would gladly remove from the modern glossary of culinary terms likewise salsa. Both are applauded by the critics whose tone when commenting on dishes where saucing plays an important role is invariably derogatory. They refer to puddles and use words such as glutinous. Curnonsky (born Maurice Edmond Saillaud) on the other hand a writer and journalist who founded the Academy of Gastronomes wrote in an editorial of Cuisine et Vins de France that Sauces comprise the honour and glory of French cookery. They have contributed to its superiority or pre eminence which is disputed by none Sauces are the orchestration and accompaniment of a fine meal and enable a good chef or cook to demonstrate his talent.
Of all our recipes the sauces we make at the River Cafe are the most basic and yet most difficult to get right. As there are so few ingredients involved in most of the sauces and rarely any cooking the quality of ingredients is essential. The olive oil must be the best extra virgin the salt must be maldon sea salt the parsley must be flat leaf the anchovies must be salted.
In traditional italian cooking there are in fact few sauces for meat or fish as most often they will be served with olive oil and a generous piece of lemon. But we love fresh chopped red chilli sauce with squid roasted red chillis in olive oil on grilled lamb or steak salmoriglio with monkfish or scallops. And we also love chillis on monkfish anchovy and rosemary sauce on lamb and almost any of the sauces in this chapter on grilled polenta or bruschetta.
Salsa verde salsa rossa and salmoriglio are a few of the basic and well known sauces found in Italy and are intrinsic to many regional classic dishes. We have adapted these recipes and their uses towards our style of cooking. There are no rules or strict measures. It is essential to keep tasting as the proportions you use will depend on the strength of the ingredients. We suggest you try sauces with various foods remembering that the objective is to enhance rather than mask the flavour and that if the flavour of the sauce is intense to use it sparingly.