Classical French cuisine is based on the mastery of five "mother sauces," which are considered the bases from which all other sauces are derived. From a creamy white sauce to a versatile brown gravy, mastery of these dishes was once considered vital. While we always appreciate a classic, we're simplifying things for the modern home chef. Taking a cue from some of our favorite celebrity cooks-Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, and Giada De Laurentiis-we've narrowed down the endless sauce variations to three basic building blocks of contemporary home cooking: bechamel sauce, espagnole sauce, and classic tomato sauce. Just add additional ingredients to any of these sauce bases to yield endless options for home-cooked deliciousness.
Have you already mastered these three culinary building blocks? What other sauces do you consider essential? Let us know in the comments!
Photographs: Courtesy of Thrill Billy Gourmet, Eat Little Bird, Claire Thomas, Williams-Sonoma, and A Couple Cooks
|Mario Batali's Bechamel Sauce Basically: A simple white sauce. Base For: Cheese and cream sauces. Popular Dishes: Lasagna, Macaroni and Cheese, Moussaka.|
|Emeril Lagasse's Espagnole Sauce Basically: A thick brown gravy. Base For: Meat sauces, mushroom sauces. Popular Dishes: Beef Bourguignon, Beef Stroganoff.|
|Giada De Laurentiis' Simple Tomato Sauce Basically: A tomato and herb sauce. Base For: Marinara, puttanesca, and provençal sauces. Popular Dishes: Chicken parmesan, Pizza, Spaghetti Bolognese.|