Discover how adding a flourish to a ready-to-use sauce creates your own signature sauce. It’s an easy way to distinguish your menu from the competition. Take a classic sauce like Alfredo, add your “secret ingredient,” then prepare to take some bows.
There are foods that are perfect as-is, and there are foods that benefit from being added to. With foundational sauces—sometimes called “mother sauces”—you get both. You can use fully prepared foundational sauces as building blocks for your own signatures, adding value and one-of-a-kind appeal to menus.
Take cream sauce, for instance, or Hollandaise sauce, both useful in their own right, and both ready to be turned into signature-making sauces with the addition of other ingredients and flavors.
In that sense, many sauces and even condiments can be viewed as building blocks for more distinctive applications, from a simple, relatively neutral emulsion like mayonnaise or beurre blanc to a more boldly flavored pesto or demi-glace. Just add different elements to create something new and uniquely your own. Change not only the flavor profile but also the texture, viscosity or even the temperature. That’s why they’re called foundational sauces.
The beauty of this approach is its simplicity. Start with a few basic foundational sauces, then learn the techniques and methods to vary and customize them. Rather than starting from scratch with seven different sauces, you can adapt one or two foundational sauces in myriad ways, cutting down on waste, inventory, prep time and labor. This strategy lies at the core of cross-utilizing ingredients to create multiple menu items, while enhancing consistency and keeping food costs in line.
The Mother Sauces:
Since Escoffier’s time, there have been five classic French mother sauces:
Of these five sauces, demi-glace is very time-consuming to make from scratch, Hollandaise can be tricky, veloute has become somewhat interchangeable with béchamel, and tomato sauce is often used in great quantities for certain types of menus.
Modern-Day Mother Sauces
Today any basic sauce can be the building block for another one. Take Alfredo Sauce for instance. This classic cream sauce, adapted for a pasta recipe of the same name, has lots of other applications. Mix with pesto, roasted garlic, or tomato purée to create a sauce variation for pasta or pizza specialties. Add bacon to create carbonara, or fold the sauce together with cooked shrimp or lobster. You can even use Alfredo sauce in lieu of cream sauce or béchamel in a recipe—for instance, in an enhanced version of chicken pot pie.
Embrace the Big Cheese
Cheese sauces make wonderful dips, recipe ingredients, toppings (such as for proteins, nachos, baked potatoes, or vegetables) and even soup bases. But you can also ramp up the flavor with added ingredients to make them your own:
Content courtesy of Nestle Professional