Friday, 28 September 2012
Maman des Sauces
Apologies to Marcel Pagnol for my corruption of his beautiful title!
After last week's quick meals, I found I had some tubs of sauce languishing in the fridge or freezer: half a tub of carbonara, half a jar of tomato sauce, some watercress sauce and some frozen chicken korma.
This must be a common dilemma- what to do with these half-jars or tubs? Obviously you could do the same meals again- spaghetti carbonara, pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce, chicken curry and salmon with watercress sauce. Nothing wrong with any of that.
But I thought it might be fun to come up with some inventive uses for these ready sauces. (Within reason of course- I'm not suggesting painting a canvas with them or making a hat.)
I know the watercress sauce goes well in a fish pie: prawns,salmon and white fish mixed in with the sauce, topped with mash and sprinkled with cheese and breadcrumbs. Simple!
It also goes well, mixed with some cream, 3 eggs and some extra chopped watercress or spinach and poured into a pastry shell for a lovely quiche. (Baked at 180 degrees until risen)
With the tomato sauce, I first made a fennel ragout. Soften some garlic and onion in a little olive oil and add 2 bulbs of sliced fennel. Pour over a glass of red vermouth (to give it a nice, herby scent) and bring to the boil. Add the leftover tomato sauce and some seasoning to taste. Leave to simmer until the sauce has reduced to a thick consistency and the fennel is tender. We had this first with fish and then again with chicken- it was so popular with the family!
I also experimented with a Bloody Mary sorbet. 1/2 a jar of tomato pasta sauce, Worcestershire sauce and vodka- with a hint of chilli too. Make the sauce up to 500 ml with some water and a couple of tsp of vodka. Add plenty of Worcestershire sauce and 2 tsp of chilli jelly or sauce. Churn in an ice cream maker for 20 minutes or so until spoonable. Freeze in a shallow container.
Interesting. And really delicious. You can serve it on its own, garnished with a Parmesan or Gruyere crisp- or as part of a another dish. Here I made it part of a Prawn cocktail: a layer of shredded lettuce, a layer of sorbet, cucumber, some prawns and some Marie Rose sauce.
To make Parmesan crisps is incredibly easy- grate some Parmesan finely, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, put heaped tablespoons of cheese onto the paper and press down a little with your fingers to make rounds, bake at 200 degrees for 5 minutes. That's all there is to it!
It seems obvious to use leftover creamy pasta sauce with more pasta- but I wanted to do something different.
So then I wondered about making a risotto: with bacon and leek. Fry the leek and bacon in some olive oil, mix in a cup of arborio rice grains and stir until well coated with oil. Add a glass of white wine and stir until absorbed. Gradually add 1/2 litre of hot chicken stock (or more or less depending on how it is absorbed) and keep stirring until it is all absorbed and the risotto is creamy-looking without being too wet. Mix in the sauce, heat through, and serve with some Parmesan grated over the top
.This was lovely! The extra sauce added at the end gave the risotto a lovely creamy consistency - as it should be- but somehow more savoury and delicious than if I had just added cream. I'm going to make this again- and adding extra creamy sauce will be an integral part of all my risotto recipes from now on.
So there we are- simple stuff made from jars from the fridge- and not a penny wasted!
Cesar and Uggolin would approve!