"Sauce" is a term that includes everything from the Classic sauces of French Cuisine to salad dressings, gravies, fruit toppings and those from other national cuisines. Lily Levin explains in our Chinese Cuisine that the term sauce is a western concept. In Asian cuisine "Sauce Happens". It is created during the cooking process, thicken and served in the dish. Never the less, the one thing that all sauces have in common is that they are flavored liquid, and are used in the cooking process or served as an enhancement to a dish.
The function of a sauce is to ad flavor that will compliment the flavor and texture of a dish. It is important that any sauce, to or cold is prepared and seasoned thoughtfully so as to enhance the natural flavors of a dish.
Great sauces can not be rushed, as with all cooking patience is a must to achieve the proper texture and deep layers of flavor that is expected from a true quality sauce. Today there are many pre-prepared or convenience products that may be used to avoid the labor costs associated with making the classics. However, few if any will give the required quality of results without the chef adjusting or making enhancements to the product prior to service.
It is important that all who cook experience a sauce that has been prepared well so as to have a standard to compare other products to.
Sauces may be strained or contain a garnish. well made sauces will have the following characteristics.
Western sauces may be grouped into 5 categories along with side categories of national or special hot and cold sauces.