5@5 - Laurent Manrique
June 3rd, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

It's time to get sauced.

And Laurent Manrique certainly knows a thing or two about it - especially when it comes to getting sauced the classic French way. If you know the basics, you'll be well on your way to Black Diamond sauce-dom in no time.

The Gascony-born chef was trained at Michelin-starred Paris restaurants Le Toit de Passy and Taillevent before earning Michelin stars of his own stateside at San Francisco’s Aqua.

Now, Manrique is the chef/partner at Millesime in New York City.

"It's not about making sauces for just the sake of it," says Manrique. "It's about teaching my younger cooks the proper techniques that will allow them to expand their skills, and also to give them the understanding of why we're using a particular sauce for a particular dish or ingredient."

So whaddya say - feeling saucy?

Five French Sauces You Should Try to Master and Why: Laurent Manrique

1. Sauce Béarnaise
"The lesson here is about emulsification. Sauce béarnaise – like sauce mousseline or sauce hollandaise – is about making a sabayon, which is a thick sauce of egg yolks and liquid cooked over low heat.

Béarnaise is a sabayon made with the reduction of vinegar, shallots and tarragon and adding clarified butter. The key is to make sure that the sabayon doesn't break, meaning the fats – the butter and yolk – separating."

2. Sauce velouté
"This sauce allows you to understand how to make a proper roux, which is a heated mixture of butter and flour in pot or pan until it becomes a paste. A roux brings textures and thickness to a liquid.

Add milk to a roux and you have a sauce béchamel – the base for soufflés – add fish stock and you have a fish velouté, chicken stock a chicken velouté and so on."

3. Beurre blanc or beurre monté
"So we've learned how to make sauces thick using flour and eggs, now making a beurre blanc or beurre monté teaches you how to add thickness without using either of those. You start by boiling a liquid, for example water with lemon juice, and then slowly add cold butter. The key to this is to not whisk or stir the mixture because it adds air to the sauce making it frothy.

You have to move the saucepan until everything moves like a wave. It's all in the wrist. When you watch a chef doing it right, it's a thing of beauty. The sauce will thicken enough to coat a spoon and develop a glassy shine so brilliant you can see your face in it."

4. Jus
"The key to making a jus – literally the French word for 'juice' – is knowing how to properly deglaze. All those bits – skin, fat, caramelized meat juices, etc. – stuck in the pan after you have finished roasting something is good stuff, so good that we French have a word for it: 'sucs.'

To this hot pan you want to add a cold liquid, the contrast in temperature lifts almost everything off the pan. A good jus really captures the essence of the main ingredient.

Next time you roast a chicken, make a jus using just a cup of water and you'll get this sauce that is the very natural, light essence of chicken.

In the kitchen we say: 'Make sure you keep the eye in the jus.' There should be a circle of shiny fat on the surface of the jus amidst the deglazing liquid - that's where the flavor is."

5. Sauce vinaigrette
"It seems simple, but people mess this up all the time. I'm not referring to just the making of the sauce, but also how it's used. The key is to understand the ingredient that it's going to be served on.

A basic vinaigrette is a mixture of two parts oil to one part vinegar, and is usually thickened by adding mustard should you choose.

When vinegar hits lettuce it basically starts breaking the leaves down. With something delicate like mache or sliced tomatoes you want something lighter that doesn't overwhelm the flavor, so use a broken – or un-emulsified – vinaigrette. For something heartier, such as romaine or roasted artichokes, use a thick vinaigrette to coat it.

Considering your ingredient goes even further. To really enhance flavor you have to mindful of what goes into the vinaigrette.

For example, I prefer to not use olive oil in a vinaigrette to dress butter lettuce, but instead a nutty oil like almond or hazelnut. Butter lettuces love nutty oils, trust me.

Another quick tip for making salad: Toss it with your hands, it's much for delicate than using a spoon. The vinegar is already attacking the texture of the salad so you don't want to make things worse."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Make • Techniques & Tips • Think

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. nina786

    waw...nice article....:)

    June 7, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  2. Maris (In Good Taste)

    These sound great – French sauces are such an important fundamental in any cooking style. Love the Beurre blanc because people think it's so fancy when it's such a simple sauce to whip up!


    June 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  3. asec86

    The bearnaise advice is terrible - I expected a lot better from Chef. I blame CNN for dumbing things down, because M. Manrique knows his business.

    If you break bearnaise, then you did something fundamentally WRONG! It's like saying the key to driving the Paris > Dakar rally is sitting in the car! How about some advice on NOT breaking the sauce, like adding a splash of liquid when it gets too thick and looks oily? How about the more important step of whipping the ever living daylights out of the sabayon, so it nearly floats out of the bowl, before you so much as add a bit of clarified butter? How about the trick where you add a little bit of whole butter, which adds water AND fat at the same time, and makes the sauce hold for longer?

    Eatocracy is a joke, just like most of the rest of CNN's non-news 'content'

    June 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Joe

      Quit reading it then.

      June 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Jerv

      No, you are the joke, asec86. Go away dumb sh it.

      June 6, 2011 at 7:16 am |
  4. Frenchy

    Sauces are something to be proud of if you can master making them. This list has some good tips in it, especially about the vinaigrette. Julia Child's 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' is an excellent reference for making sauces too.

    June 4, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
  5. Pat

    Interview Brian Polcyn of Forrest Grill in Birmingham, MI. He's the best!

    June 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  6. Truth

    Tôi khong muốn nhấn đó.

    June 3, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • RichardHead

      That's what she said.:)

      June 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Oriental Express

      You speakee Pig Latin?

      June 3, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Hop Sing's Recipe For Disaster

      I maika spechul sauce fo my dish of Cleem of Sun Yung Gai.
      Very Cleemee!

      June 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
      • J.P.

        You're a racist asshole

        June 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
      • Mark

        You speak racist?

        June 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
      • Name*rad

        Oh come on that was funny

        June 6, 2011 at 8:05 am |
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