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dug (2501)

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I like pork and Perl.

Journal of dug (2501)

Sunday July 29, 2007
09:34 AM

Perl Sauce

[ #33909 ]

One of the things that I learned while working the meat station at Blue
Hill was how to make meat sauces. The sauce making technique there is
different than at a lot of other restaurants, and it shows (or tastes,
rather). Sauces using the technique I learned there taste like the
animal that they came from.

It helps that we did lots of whole animal butchery. Whole animals meant
that I had bones to make a native stock, and native scrap meat to braise.
The basic technique is much like making a daube or a stew.

1) Sear the cubed meat, browning on all sides.
2) Drain the meat.
3) Sweat aromatics, deglaze with stock.
4) Add the meat, braise until fork tender.
5) Strain the cooking liquid, reserve the meat.
6) Reduce cooking liquid to sauce consistency, skimming constantly.

Of course there are nuances and steps that change with the desired end
result, but this is a basic method that can be adapted for nearly any
meat sauce. And the scraps make a great family meal.

If this is such a great basic technique, why doesn't anyone use it for
fish? One could argue that poaching a fish in a fumet is the analog.
While it's a great way to cook a fish, the end result isn't a complex,
nuanced, sauce consistency sauce. It's a broth.

Why doesn't anyone do the following?

1) Poach the fish in the fumet.
5) Strain the cooking liquid, reserve the fish.
6) Reduce cooking liquid to sauce consistency, skimming constantly.

Actually, they do. In "Grand Livre De Cuisine", Ducasse has several
takes on this method. In "Simple French Food", Richard Olney describes
"Fish In Sauce", talking about different ways to bind a fumet reduction.
I'm sure others describe it elsewhere.

When I cook fish, I almost always end up making a fish sauce, using this
basic technique. I appreciate the simplicity of an herb mayonnaise, or a
beurre blanc, or an herb vinaigrette. But once I'm in fish land, I
usually want to garnish my meat with something that reflects the whole
fish, and is a reduction of its elemental flavors.

When I'm in Perl land, I usually want to garnish my meal with Perl.
I want it to smell like Perl and taste like Perl, not like some
DSL^H^H^H sauce that I just cooked up on the fly that I'm going to
garnish my Perl meat with.

-- Douglas Hunter

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