The Culinary Corner

Sauces: Getting serious

Roger Joss
Posted 7/24/20

Sauces: Getting serious

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The Culinary Corner

Sauces: Getting serious


Welcome to my little corner of culinary delights.  In an earlier article, I covered making tomato sauce and hinted about spaghetti sauce.  Some of my friends simply will not let me get by without giving detailed instructions on how to make it.  Since my last article again brought it up, I will ac-quiesce.

As learned from the previous article, it is most frustrating to put time and energy into a recipe and have it turn out badly due to substandard ingredients, the wrong heating temperature and poor procedures or improper cookware being used.  In order for us to make a good sauce, all of this must be considered before we even think to use the recipe.  This will probably take two or three articles in order to cover it.

I will now get serious on sauce making.  To do it well, one must use the proper equipment.  A thick walled copper saucepot with an interior zinc coating is the very best.  However, it is way too ex-pensive outside of a fine dinning restaurant whose reputation depends in part on its sauce making.  The next best saucepot would be a thick walled aluminum pot.  However, this is only good for non-acidic sauces.  For making sauces that use tomatoes, one needs what is called “nonreactive” cookware.

Copper and aluminum conduct heat quickly.  Heavy walled sauce pans and cast iron help to evenly distribute that heat, thus no hot spots.  When copper is removed from the heat, its cooking pro-cess ends quickly.  That is paramount when dealing with delicate sauces.  For tomato sauces, alu-minum saucepans are okay if they have a nonstick interior coating.  However, make sure there is no metal showing through that coating due to scratches or chipping.  An anodized surface is good.  If you prefer, porcelain coated cast iron, would be excellent.  However, if the porcelain is chipped, even at the rim, toss it away.

There are two types of nonreactive metal saucepans one can use.  One type would be stainless steel with a wafer base fused to the bottom.  Another type would be inductive cookware.  Induc-tion cookware is made specifically for induction cookers.  This kind of cooking is done on a type of hot plate that does not get hot.  The cookware has a tri-ply body with a ferrous type exterior and a stainless steel interior with an aluminum core.  It has the best of both worlds for being nonreactive and evenly distributing heat with no hot spots.

The traditional type of spoon used would be a wooden kitchen spoon.  A stainless steel kitchen spoon could be used but never if the cookware has a nonstick coating or is anodized.  A whisk can come in handy, but again, not when using nonstick coated cookware.  There are whisks available designed to be used with nonstick cookware.  They are plastic coated whisks.  I have a few but rare-ly use them.

Until next time, peace to all.