French Cooking With the Five Mother Sauces

Culinary connoisseur Amir Landsman enjoys both eating and preparing a wide range of international cuisine. He’s practiced making the five mother sauces from which many other sauce preparations are derived. Hollandaise, classic tomato, bechamel, veloute and espagnole are generally listed as the five mother sauces and can serve as the basis for Italian, Spanish and French dishes.

Hollandaise

A blend of melted clarified butter and warm egg yolks, Hollandaise sauce can be used as the foundation for creating creamy, silky sauces like Dijon, Mousseline, Bearnaise and Maltaise.

Classic Tomato

Also known as classic tomate, this versatile sauce is used to create a wide range of preparations including Spanish, Portuguese, Creole and Provencal sauces. Based on a combination of rendered salt pork, vegetables, herbs, raw tomatoes, the stock must be simmered for hours to develop the full flavor of these ingredients.

Bechamel

A simple combination of milk, clarified butter and white flour, bechamel sauces are sometimes used as a thickening agent for gravies or in stews. They are the foundation for cream sauces, pourable cheese sauces and mustard sauces.

Veloute

A combination of white stock and roux, veloute sauces can be constructed around veal, chicken or fish stocks. Each type of veloute is best suited to a specific use when constructing derivative sauces. With a few additions, for instance, veal veloute can be transformed into Allemande sauce. Shrimp sauce, mushroom sauce and supreme sauce are all based on a veloute mother sauce.

Espagnole

Espagnole sauce is created using much the same method employed to prepare a veloute. However, the white stock of the veloute is replaced by brown stock for the espagnole. This rich, complex sauce is the starting point for Madeira, port wine and Lyonnaise sauces.

By mastering these five mother sauces, Amir Landsman and other amateur chefs can create delicious French dishes for even the most discerning guests.