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What are your top 3 sauces to make/eat?

We all love a good sauce. To me, learning to make a new sauce is the most satisfying part of cooking. What are your faves? (no brand names/prepared products please)

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  1. My sauces are all for pasta. Pesto, red sauce and red clam sauce. For the pesto I make a starter that I freeze. Just basil and cream cheese. I pack this in small youghrt containers; when I want pesto I toss the pesto starter in the food processor with garlic parmasean cheese and parsley and/or frozen spinach.

    1 Reply
    1. re: miss margie

      the cream cheese freezes okay? i think i'll try your pesto method cause i got an extra box of cream cheese sitting for a while now..

    2. Bolognese, creole, and marinara.

      1. bolognase, curries, harrisa

        1. Better to ask about a top 15! Maybe:

          Sauce bordelaise (building on a demi-glace or espagnole), sauce Perigueux (builds on a Madiera sauce and includes truffles), and sauce Bercy (for fish, builds on veloute sauce).

          1. aiolis and mayos
            ginger scallion sauce
            pan gravy
            I have to admit this list changes frequently.

            3 Replies
            1. re: lucygoosey

              lucygoosey--care to share your recipe for ginger scallion sauce?

              1. re: mdzehnder

                Easiest sauce ever. No real recipe. Everything gets a rough chop and then into the processor. I'll guess but you can really play w/ amounts. Sometimes I make it really thin and use as a salad dressing.
                1-1.5 bunch scallions
                1-2 inches fresh ginger
                1 med clove garlic
                dash cayenne
                1/4 c. rice vinegar
                1/4 c either cilantro or parsley (or both!0
                juice form 1/2 lime (lemon if you like)
                salt to taste
                olive oil enough to get the consistency you like. I like it quite thick.

                To me this tastes like spring and is great on fish, veg even a skirt steak.
                I make a bonito based ginger scallion for noodles if you're into that too.
                Hope you like it!

                1. re: lucygoosey

                  So.....I'm technologically pathetic and only just now realized that you had actually replied to my request for the recipe. Thanks so much for posting--looking forward to trying it soon.

            2. My most frequently made - bechamel, hollendaise, and a pan sauce. But I love sauces so the question is totally unfair!


              1 Reply
              1. re: alwayscooking

                I have to agree with all, I want 4 and add a good fresh tomato red sauce. And my pan sauces always change,

                I actually like simple glazes or drizzles lately. A pan sauce but not thick (still sauce but I really like them) one that I can drizzle over the meat or main course for just a flavor but not over the top. I love this with seafood a lot.

              2. Marinara, for sure.
                Pan sauce
                (I could go on! I adore sauce)
                oh...have to add...marsala, and anything fruit to go with pork and chicken.

                1. Just these two: marinara and meat sauce (not bolognese). We don't particularly care for sauces that begin with bechamel, or cream sauces. And I'm not counting pan sauces, 'cause those are à la minute and just a by-product of whatever meat I happen to be sauteing or roasting.

                  1. garlic butter, lemon butter, fresh tomato salsa

                    1. Bearnaise because it is the ultimate contrast of creamy and tart. To me, it is Hollandaisse on steroids! Hollandaisse seems so wimpy by comparison. Marinara sauce for its sheer versatility and the heavenly combination of garlic, onions basil and tomatoes. Hot fudge sauce made without corn syrup, which, in my opinion, ruins the texture of the sauce. (I love the Bakers' Chocolate fudge sauce recipe on the back of the box from many years ago. I haven't seen it on the box in a long time.)

                      1. 1: Chimichurri. Mix up the herbs- use mint for lamb, cilantro and lime for fish and the traditional Argentine Parsley for all grilled meats. Adjust Garlic and red pepper flakes and you can also switch vinegars use Sherry Vinegar, Red Wine and White Vinegar. A lot of different options with this staple Argentine sauce for many different needs. Great on vegetables as well.

                        1. A thick meat sauce (using ground beef and sweet or hot Italian sausage, depending on what I'm feeling like); and a simple cognac cream sauce are the first two that come to mind.

                          1. A sweet mustard sauce heavy wth cilantro. (My version of what was served over some chicken chili rellenos at a now gone local restaurant.)
                            Home made canned roma tomatoes with more roma tomatoes. Just pure flavors.
                            A butter following to pan frying a steak and either used on home made white bread or to stir fry fresh green beans.

                            1. Three favorites... each day you know this changes with cravings ok?
                              I eat what I crave at the time, so here goes.
                              Cream Gravy as in Fried chicken and milk gravy heavy with the pepper!

                              oooo can I add one more...? or take out the Bolognese...I love to make my own BBQ sauce!

                              1. on a slightly different note....for chicken breasts, I love a mix of marsala, balsamic vinegar, a cple of TBS of Cranberry juice concentrate, and garlic..maybe with a hit or so of Rosemary. I cook the breasts until almost done at 400 degrees, add a bit on top, and heat the rest to serve under it on the plate

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                  Nice. I make a dish where very similar as above and I serve over a couple of slices of good Italian Bread thick sliced which I spread with a good herbed cheese and then coat in egg, bread crumbs and pan saute. I serve this under the chicken The sauce makes a great vehicle for the bread and the fresh rosemary brings the flavor of the herbed cheese. Just a simple dish

                                  This is also good with a pinot gricio sauce I make with some fresh herbs and served over the bread. Garnished with sauteed mandarine oranges and fresh herbs and thin fried crimini mushrooms and as well.

                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                      The bread is just another starch, sometimes, rice, polenta, couscous, etc ... got old. I did the bread with some thin slices of chicken and everyone loved it. Sort of fun.

                                      I have even put a few whole slices of cheese and then did the breading bread. I grill cheese side up it melts and then sticks to the bread that way.

                                  1. another offbeat "sauce"

                                    I make mini popovers and split them lengthwise. Fill them with sauteed mushroom, onion, garlic, and maybe a little lobster. For the sauce, I use canned lobster bisque, a little sherry or marsala, and some more garlic, a little tarragon and/or cilantro. Heat it up, put a TBS or so on the popover, top with some shredded cheese and pop back into a 350 oven until the cheese melts

                                    1. Moles and pipians...they store well too..

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: jsaimd

                                        1. Buerre Blanc: this is the first real sauce I learned from MTAFC. Love it to this day. This is the epitome of the *perfect* sauce IMHO
                                        2. Marinara. A given. I was introduced, really, to good food by two old school Italian women.
                                        3. Pesto. I can't bear to let those last leaves of basil go to waste!

                                      2. It's just finishing Summer down here, so at the moment, it's basil pesto, mayo and garden tomato.

                                        During Winter it will probably be bechamel, ragu and balsamic reduction.

                                        1. Ume Plum Pan Sauce
                                          Mandarin Spicy Sauce

                                          1. - Soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, diced garlic and garnished with Chinese parsley

                                            - XO sauce

                                            - Black bean garlic sauce

                                            1. Mushroom gravy for poultry, bearnaise for beef, and a plethora of tomato-based sauces for pasta, from bolognese to arabbiata.