Velouté is one of the five "mother sauces" of classical cuisine. It can be made with any white stock, but this version, the fish velouté, is made with fish stock. There's also a veal velouté and a chicken velouté.
This sauce can be used as it is, but more often than not it is embellished by adding ingredients to the basic sauce for example herbs, wine, cream, anchovies, shallots, sherry, brandy, mushrooms, fennel etc.
350ml White Fish Stock (white stock just means the bones were not roasted)
2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
3 tbsp Plain Flour
Salt & Pepper
1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a large saucepan.
2. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over low heat (don't let it burn) and add the flour.
3. Raise the heat to medium and stir the butter and flour together for about 2 minutes. This is your roux.
4. Whisk the simmering stock into the roux and keep heating and whisking. When the stock begins to simmer again, turn down the heat to low and cook until the sauce thickens. A thin skin may form; just skim it away with your spoon.
5. Season with salt and pepper
6. Strain through a fine sieve or chinois if you have one.
7. When using this sauce as a base for another sauce cover the top with a cartouche, as this will stop a skin from forming on the surface.
What's a cartouche?
This is a circle of greaseproof paper that you put on top of a sauce to stop it forming a skin on top; it also can be used as a temporary lid to a saucepan when poaching. Follow this link to see how you cut a cartouche - http://youtu.be/ed-i2jd7WIA
This is a derivative of the basic velouté and is great with most fish. By adding peeled grapes and a splash of vermouth you can create the French classic Sole Veronique.
350ml Fish Velouté
50g Shallot (finely chopped)
A knob of Butter
1 Clove of Garlic (finely chopped)
75ml Med White Wine
50ml Double Cream
1. Heat the butter in a saucepan and cook the shallot gently for 5 minutes without colour.
2. Add the garlic and cook for another 4 minutes.
3. Add the wine and boil for a 4 minutes.
4. Add the velouté and stir until smooth, gently heating the sauce through.
5. When a gentle simmer is achieved, add the cream and simmer for another few minutes.
6. At this point you can serve as it is, or for a very smooth sauce pass through a fine sieve or chinois.
7. Should you wish to add any fresh chopped herbs (parsley, dill tarragon etc.) it is best to add them at the very end of cooking as they will remain fresh and vibrant.
A Beurre blanc is a simple butter-based emulsified sauce that's great with fish or seafood. As with the other sauces we have mentioned here a beurre blanc can be flavoured with other things can add interest to a dish. For example citrus, herbs, spices like saffron or even a splash of liqueur.
Good dry white wines for the reduction include Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, but any drinkable dry white will do. I have even heard of people using left over Champagne, but if you're like me once opened a bottle of champagne is always finished.
2 Shallots (finely chopped)
225 ml Dry White Wine
50ml Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Double Cream
180g Chilled Unsalted Butter (cubed)
Salt and White Pepper
1. Combine the shallots, white wine, and lemon juice in a non-reactive saucepan over high heat and reduce to about 2 tablespoons. (Avoid using aluminium or copper pans as these will react with the acid and make you sauce look dirty and taste metallic. It will however clean your pan up a treat.)
2. Add the cream to the reduction. Once the liquid bubbles, reduce the heat to low.
3. Add the butter, one cube at a time, whisking first on the heat and then off the heat.
4. Continue whisking butter into the reduction until the mixture is fully emulsified and has reached a rich sauce consistency.
5. Season with salt and white pepper.
6. It is best to serve this sauce straight away as it does not reheat very well. It is possible however to store in a thermos until ready to serve.
This is a wonderful sauce that is superb with all manner of fish and when served with new season asparagus makes a heavenly starter. Many people are afraid of attempting this sauce as it can often go wrong and split. However this is not as big a problem as many people think, if it gets too cold and splits, heat the butter before adding more. If it overheats and splits, add an ice cube. Once you have mastered this recipe you will want to cook it for your friends all the time, so give it a try.
3 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Bay Leaf
2 Eggs Yolks
Salt and Pepper
1. Put the vinegar in a small pan with the peppercorns and bay leaf. Reduce the vinegar over a high heat until there is only 1 tbsp left. Strain the peppercorns and the bay leaf from this reduction. (Make sure you use a non-reactive saucepan, so no aluminium or copper as this will discolour the sauce)
2. Put the egg yolks in a food processor with the vinegar reduction.
3. Gently melt the butter so that the liquid and any impurities/solids fall to the bottom of the saucepan.
4. Turn the food processor on and slowly pour the butter on to the egg yolks with the motor still running. The sauce will start to thicken. When only the watery liquid/solids is left, stop.
5. If the sauce is too thick, add a little hot water.
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice.
This is not so much a recipe, but more of a way of cooking butter.
"Hazelnut butter" is simply butter cooked until golden brown, which gives off a delicious nutty aroma. This happens to work really well with fish.
1. Place butter in a saucepan and melt. 2. Continue cooking until it becomes golden brown then remove from the heat
3. Stop the cooking process by pouring into a cold bowl or putting the saucepan in a sink of cold water. If left in the pan it will continue to cook and colour too much.
4. If you are serving this with fish immediately pour over straight from the hot pan.
5. You may also add a squeeze of lemon to the pan at the last minute.