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Espagnole Sauce – a Classic French Brown Sauce

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Espagnole Sauce, A French Tradition

Espagnole Sauce uses a brown stock such as beef, veal, lamb or duck and is thickened with a brown roux. It is a basic brown stock base from which other brown sauces are created. Espagnole is flavored with aromatics, savory herbs, or tomato paste. These sauces are commonly served with roasted meats, such as lamb, beef, duck or veal.


Demi-glace is traditionally made by combining one part Espagnole sauce and one part brown stock. The sauce is then reduced by half, strained of any left over impurities and finished with a sherry wine.

Bordelaise Sauce

Bordelaise sauce is a classic French sauce named after the Bordeaux region of France. The sauce is made with dry red wine, bone marrow, butter, shallots and demi-glace. Traditionally, bordelaise sauces are served with grilled beef or steak, though it can also be served with other meats that pair well with brown sauces, such ad duck or lamb.

Diable Sauce

Diable sauce is a basic espagnole sauce with the addition of wine, vinegar, shallots and red or black pepper. It’s usually served with broiled meat or poultry.


Lyonnaise is a compound sauce made of demi-glace, white wine, vinegar and onions served with small cuts of meat. It is mainly used for left-overs.

Madeira sauce

Madeira sauce is a savory French sauce defined as a demi-glace sauce and used Madeira wine. The sauce is made by sautéeing in butter shallots and mushrooms, then adding peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, and the wine until it is reduced. Demi-glace is then added to the combination, which is whisked until blende. This sauce is an ideal choice for roasts, steaks, and chicken. It is the sauce most often served with beef Wellington.

Perigueux Sauce

Perigueux is a rich brown sauce flavored with black truffles and Madeira. The sauce, goes with a variety of dishes including meat, game, poultry and eggs. It is named after Perigueux, a city in the Pierigord region in southern France. It is a region most noted for its truffles.

Piquante Sauce

Piquante is a tangy and slightly acidic sauce, perfect for cutting through the rich, smoky flavors of grilled beef, pork, lamb, or vegetables.

Poivrade Sauce

Poivrade sometimes called sauce au poivre, is a peppery sauce. It is made of a cooked mirepoix thickened with flour and moistened with wine and a little vinegar, then heavily seasoned with black pepper. It uses Espagnole sauce as a base to thicken the sauce.

Robert Sauce

Robert is a brown mustard sauce derived from the classic French demi-glace, which in turn is derived from Espagnole sauce. Sauce Robert is made from chopped onions cooked in butter without color, a reduction of white wine, pepper, an addition of demi-glace and is finished with mustard. It well suited for pork, especially grilled pork.

Veloute Sauce
Bechamel Sauce
Hollandaise Sauce (and red sauce)

6 Techniques to Perfecting French Toast

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#1 Thickness Counts in French Toast

Your bread need heft and strength. This is necessary to both soak up all the liquid ingredients but also so each French toast slice won’t disintegrate during preparation. Choose from between ½-inch to as much as 1-inch thick slices of bread.

#2 Choose Your Bread Wisely

A dense-crumbed white sandwich bread is classic and run-of-the-mill. However, if you are going to indulge on French toast, go for the extra dose of richness, of an egg challah or brioche. It is best to use day-old, dried out bread, which is better to soak up all the liquids. If you bread is fresh, you can dry it out in the oven at 200 degrees F for about 15 minutes.

#3 Just the Right Amount of Milk and Eggs

Milk and eggs are the key ingredients to create the creamy custard base that gives French toasts it tender richness. The basic rule of thumb is 1 egg and ¼ cup of milk per 2-slice serving if you are using ½-inch thick bread. Double that for 1-inch thick bread. And don’t scrimp on the fat, use whole milk or even half-and-half for the added richness. An alternative is also to use just the egg yolks but then double the number of eggs to get the right amount of liquid.

#4 Add More Flavor Dimensions

Eggs and Milk are the only essentials required for the custardy base for the French Toast. But to give it that distinctive flare, vanilla extract, a tablespoon of sugar and/or a pinch of cinnamon gives a standard French toast a complete upgrade. Granulated sugar will provide some caramelization but brown-sugar will take that up a notch or too. Replacing the vanilla with rum, Grand Marnier, or a splash of bourbon will deliver another totally new dimension.

#5 Use a Combo of Butter and Oil

Butter has a tendency to burn too quickly, which will completely run your French toast. But butter is an essential part of the flavor profile you are trying to achieve. The solution is to swap out one-half the butter with plain vegetable oil such as canola oil. Using this combination will allow you to get a nice crisp exterior an a tender custard interior.

#6 Selecting the Add-ons for your French Toast

Choose wisely: powdered sugar, a great maple syrup, or maybe even caramelized bananas. Powdered sugar is the classic and a perfect complement. The other extreme, go for a bananas-flambé – not only impressive to view, but amazing to eat. Just be prepared to eat nothing else the rest of the day. Maple syrup is another classic. While Grade A the classic, Grade B is much darker and a lot more robust. Try a little of both and see what you prefer but either way will be delicious.

Spring into Summer with Rosé Wines

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Different Shades of Rose Wine

Italian Rosé

Prosecco producers call their rosé sparkling wines Spumante (technically, Prosecco can only be made from white grapes). The best are lively 
and fruity. It is fragrant with summer fruit aromas, fresh and lively on the palate, dry, crisp and easy to drink.

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