skimming fat off sauces
I'm just starting to experiment with making different kinds of meaty sauces. What's the best way to skim the fat off a (hot) sauce? It seems a spoon just sort of stirs the fat back in. Is it worth buying a commercial "skimmer"?
I never use a skimmer. If I have time, I cool the sauce and then chip the hardened fat off the top. The benefit is not just that you get the most fat that way, but that most meaty sauces taste better if made in advance anyway.
If there isn't time, I use a spoon the way the previous commented have said, However, if there isn't enough fat to pool, but there's more fat than I want to eat, I let the sauce sit for a minute so the fat can rise to the surface and then lay down a paper towel for a moment. Pick it up and it'll be coated with fat. I do that as many times as need be.
If it's cooking at anything beyond the very low "occasional bubble" level of simmer, take the pot off the heat for a few moments to let the surface calm. Then take the largest, flattest spoon you have, set the bowl of the spoon flat on the surface near the fat you want to remove, and gently tip the spoon to the side just enough to let the fat flow in.
You shouldn't expect to get every drop, but if you're careful you can remove quite a bit. And if you lose a few drops of the broth with the fat that's OK, as long as most of what you're removing is fat.
There are some recipes that are better if made in advance and then reheated. Those are easy - just refrigerate the sauce when it's done and scrape off the hardened fat that's congealed at the surface before reheating.