Monday, February 25, 2019

Une Sauce Ravigote Chaude

This sauce is making its way back into my rotation now that we're turning towards foods that can use the nice counterpoint of something acidic, lifting up and punctuating rich, long-simmered flavors and textures. I love a nice ravigote chaude with roasts of all kinds, from simple stuffed poultry to the more exotic tête de veau. Braised winter vegetables like endives, just now being offered by local farmers at the market this week, and steamed leeks, when served with a ravigote chaude, become a full entrée instead of a side. The cold ravigote is the reference in a lot of cooks' minds, mounted crushed cooked yolks with oil like a mayonnaise, but my favorite for this time of year is the hot version, a completely different recipe and technique. The hot version is a sauce that in my opinion plays a good role in the the steaming whole of a plate, keeping in tune with hot comforting foods - more enjoyable right now than something cold dolloped on the side like a condiment.

There are a lot of multi-faceted cooking words that can mean one thing or another, for example the word velouté, which in old school French cuisine is a classic sauce base, prepared with a roux of flour and butter, with the addition of poultry or veal stock. Having some stock on hand is important for this recipe, since it's necessary for the velouté which serves as a structural framework to weave in the texture and flavor of reduced shallots, wine, and vinegar, then layered again with flavor - using fines herbs, capers, and a little more butter, of course. This is a recipe where we build a triad of bold flavors into a velvety base: the herbs most bold of which is tarragon, enriched shallots, and capers. Try this with some simply braised leeks. Simplicity at its finest.

Recipe:  Sauce Ravigote Chaude

3 shallots
45 grams or 3 tablespoons dry white wine
30 grams or 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
25 grams or 2 tablespoons butter
25 grams or 2 tablespoons flour
300 ml or 1 1/4 cups veal or poultry stock, hot
2 tablespoons tarragon, fresh finely chopped leaves
1 tablespoon chives, fresh finely chopped herb
1 tablespoon chervil (if you've got it), fresh finely chopped herb
1 tablespoon capers in brine, chopped (make sure they're not too salty)
salt and pepper to taste (salt will depend on the capers you have)
30 grams butter to finish.

In one small saucepan, combine the shallots, wine and vinegar. Heat to boiling, then lower heat and reduce, that is let the liquid evaporate at a simmer, just until all the liquid is gone. Don't allow it to burn or brown at all. (note: this step can be done in advance and held for a day, chilled)

In another saucepan, melt the first 25 grams of butter and stir in the flour until it's a smooth paste. Allow to cook over medium heat briefly, stirring constantly, and then whisk in the stock until fully incorporated. Allow to thicken and simmer, and stir occasionally as the liquid becomes more translucent, indicating that the starches in the flour are fully saturated with the liquid and are now doing their job to thicken and stabilize. 20 minutes simmering should suffice.

Combine the reduced shallot mixture and the velouté. Add the fresh herbs and capers, and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Place the butter in one piece over the sauce and allow it to melt, then swirl it over the top to avoid forming a film. Keep this sauce warm until service, and whisk the melted butter on the surface into the sauce at the last minute.


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