Mother Sauces

Mother Sauces are often the foundations for many dishes and other sauces. By learning the basics of each  sauce , you will be well on your way toward making your own fantastic derivatives as demonstrated by Chef Paul Smith!


Béchamel Sauce

2 oz oil or clarified butter 2 oz minced onions

1lb white roux Pinch salt

Pinch ground white pepper Pinch grated nutmeg

Heat the oil or butter and add the onions. Sauté over low to moderate heat, stirring frequently, 6 to 8 minutes until the onions are tender and translucent, with no color. Add the roux to the onions and cook about 2 minutes until the roux is very hot.


Add milk to the pan gradually, whisking or stirring to work out any lumps. Bring the sauce to a full boil, then reduce the heat and simmer about 30 minutes until the sauce is smooth and thickened.  Stir frequently and skim as necessary throughout the cooking time.

Add salt, pepper and nutmeg, adjusting to taste.  Strain through a fine strainer.


Tomato Sauce

2 oz olive oil

4 oz diced sweet onions 2 garlic cloves, minced

3 lbs fresh plum tomatoes, rinsed, cored, chopped 10 oz tomato puree

¼ cup rough chopped basil leaves Salt and pepper to taste


In medium sauce pot, heat olive oil.  Add diced onions and sweat for 1 minute.  Add the garlic and continue to sauté for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and tomato puree.


Bring sauce to a simmer and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add basil and cook for 1 minute.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


Hollandaise Sauce

1 T chopped shallots

½ t cracked pepper

2 oz white wine or cider vinegar

2 oz wate

3 oz egg yolks (about 4 yolks)

12 oz melted or clarified butter

2 t lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of tobasco


Combine shallots, pepper, and vinegar in small sauce pan and reduce over medium heat until dry. Add water to the reduction and strain into stainless steel bowl. Add the yolks and set over simmering water bath, whisking constantly until yolks triple in volume and form ribbons from the whisk.


Remove cooked egg yolks from the simmering water and set on clean towel to prevent bowl from moving. Slowly ladle clarified butter into yolk mixture, whisking constantly. As the butter is blended into the yolks, the sauce will thicken.


Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, and tobasco.  Serve immediately.


Beurre Blanc

2 T minced shallots Pinch pepper

8 oz dry white wine 2 oz lemon juice

3 oz cider or white wine vinegar 8 oz heavy whipping cream

1 ½ pounds cubed butter Salt and pepper to taste


Combine shallots, pepper, white wine, lemon juice, and vinegar.  Reduce over medium heat until nearly dry.  Add heavy cream.  Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.


Reduce to low heat.  Add butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking constantly to blend the butter into the reduction.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe by:

Chef Paul Smith