Why do chefs add sauces to restaurant dishes?
4 reasons we chefs love our sauces
Why sauces are added to food is a question that I get asked regularly. Of course, there are those who have their favourite sauce with everything. It’s not uncommon for kids to smother both meat and vegetables with tomato sauce – even their baked beans! Then there are those who prefer their food without the sauce. I wouldn’t want to tell you how to take your food, but those at either end of the spectrum may be missing out on a taste sensation. But it’s not only to complement flavours that we add sauces.
Here are four reasons we chefs suggest sauce (or include in the dish):
1.To complement or counter natural flavours
Think of some food, and you naturally pair with certain sauces:
- Lamb and mint sauce
- Roast beef and horseradish sauce
- Pork and apple sauce
Chicken Supreme is a dish enhanced with a sauce based on one of the five mother sauces – velouté, with chicken stock and cream. The result is a rich, ivory-coloured sauce with a deep, velvety texture. The result when added to chicken is a dish with a rounded and intense flavour.
We pair other meats with other sauces to work in a similar way – to enhance and complement the flavour of a fine cut of meat.
2.To add succulence
Lean meats, such as fish and poultry, are naturally drier when cooked (think of the Christmas Day nerves when the turkey is in the oven). Some cooking techniques, such as grilling, also dry out a dish. This is why we often serve grilled meat with an emulsion such as Béarnaise, or perhaps a chutney. Beurre blanc takes white fish to another level.
3.To make the dish visually attractive
If you’ve heard the saying “you eat with your eyes”, then you’ll have some appreciation of another reason why we chefs add a sauce. A well-matched sauce adds lustre to a dish. A red wine jus on lamb, for example, adds that extra sheen. And don’t forget the visual excitement of complimentary or clashing colours – a white fish with a red pepper coulis, for example.
4.To create an extra layer of texture
Savour with the nose. Eat with the eyes. Delight with the taste. The final piece of the puzzle is the feel of food as it hits your tongue. An added crunch to a lean meat dish, or a silky smoothness to a pan-fried shellfish…
Next time you’re dining with us at Christopher’s Restaurant, take a few moments to appreciate the sauce. It could even be how you choose your wine for dinner. To book your table, call us on (+34) 600 01 28 24.