These sauces will transform your meals in 3 easy lessons

If there’s one thing that can take your home cooked meals from good to goodness gracious, then we’re here to tell you the secret’s in the sauce. In his latest Online Cooking Course, Success with Sauces, Franck Dangereux demonstrates three essential lessons that form the building blocks for creativity and confidence with pan-based, tomato-based and roux-based sauces. We had ourselves a little meet up to chat about his latest Online Cooking Course and some top tips on why you should know your sauces.

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Let’s chat whisks and saucepans. What’s your preference here, stainless or silicone and non stick?

“You need a saucepan. I prefer a good old stainless steel pot and a stainless whisk, because I like the noise. There’s a satisfaction in knowing something is happening. Hearing it and seeing it.”

Which two sauces are the most versatile and allow for a lot of creativity in cooking?

“First would be a homemade mayonnaise, it’s a fantastic sauce to master and it can turn into 20 different sauces. Cold sauces can turn into so many things. A basic tomato sauce is the second, think of all the things you can do. You can use it to make a basque sauce, a pesto and creme (pepper), puttanesca sauce, aubergine and onions, cannelloni, moussaka, the list is endless.

You can simply store it in a jar and dunk fresh bread in it with olive oil — if the ingredients are good, the sauce will be good. I mean happy days.”

What’s the most common mistake people make, to your knowledge, when making a complicated sauce?

“People tend to over-reduce their sauces. If they use a stock they tend to overcook and then it is too strong. Also, people season the sauce before they reduce it. For example, with a tomato sauce it needs to cook for an hour, so, if you season it at the beginning it will be too potent by the time the sauce has reduced.”

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What’s the least amount of ingredients you could use to create a flavourful sauce and what would that be?

“The best sauce I know that has just 3 ingredients, is made with lemon juice, soya sauce and olive oil. If you have nothing else, you have that, it’s a 3 ingredient thing and you can have it with absolutely anything.”

How do you work out how much sauce to make for the portion of food you’re cooking? Should you know the quantities for a basic recipe and just multiply it out?

“With sauce, 100ml is a good helping of béchamel per person. To help you visualise, think of a soup ladle. It’s important to visualise the volume of what you will be serving with and then you can use that as your guideline for how much volume your sauce should amount to.”

Creative tips for using leftover sauce (say, you made too much by accident)?

“If you reheat a creme based sauce, it could split but it could ‘get lost nicely in a pie’. Carbonara sauce in a big chicken pie. For tomato, salsa or vegetable sauces – eat it cold on fresh bruschetta.”

Do you have to follow strict recipes and quantities to achieve success with these and other sauce recipes or do you get to a point where you can ‘wing it’ and it tastes just as amazing? How do you get there?

The béchamel is a recipe and you have to have specific quantities to get the result you want. But you also have to use your intuition when you cook with salsas. Look at the food. Does it look right, does it taste right? If you embark on the adventure of cooking, you have to use your senses. You have to trust yourself. If it good to you, chances are it’ll be good to everyone else.

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And there you have it. If that doesn’t make you want to get a handle on sauces and up the ante of your homecooking, then we’re not sure what will. Except maybe having Franck in your kitchen cooking for you, now wouldn’t that be a treat?

Head on over to the Online Cooking School and sign up for Success with Sauces now. Festive cooking never looked this good.