Steak sauces to tempt the tastebuds

Having lived in the French countryside for almost thirty years, the writer’s experience of French cuisine tells her the best sauces are those made at home. The way in which they help the presentation of steak is that they add another dimension to the cooked flavor of the meat, as well as keeping that meat tender and moist, which is what good cooking is all about.

Sauce a la maison

This is the tastiest kind of sauce to go with steak. Taking traditional recipes and exploring different ingredients to get the taste to perfection, this is a favorite. It is one used in the kitchen on a regular basis to tempt the taste buds of visitors, who tuck into their succulent steak, and experience the pleasure and delight of sauces.

Ingredients

Two shallots (medium in size)
Fresh tarragon
Butter
Black pepper in a grinder
Two tablespoons of Pinot de Charentes
Dijon mustard

Beginning the cooking stages of the steak, put a little Dijon mustard on both sides of the steak and cook in good quality butter. The idea is to seal the meat though not to cook it. Cut the shallots into small, thin pieces (half rounds), and add these to the steak, gently simmering until they are soft. Chop up a handful of fresh tarragon into tiny pieces and add to the mix. This idea was taken from the basic recipe for Bearnaise Sauce, though it was discovered that the Bearnaise wasn’t sufficiently tasty to give the steak the real star treatment it merited.

Using the pepper grinder, grind a couple of twists of pepper on both sides of the steak. The original addition of Chablis was too bland, and experimentation with Pinot de Charentes, gave a  taste which is more distinctive. Adding this to the cooking process last, close the pan by placing a lid on it, and turn down the heat so that the dish simmers.

Serve with fresh vegetables.

The sauce really does do justice to the steak, and is simple to make. It keeps all the meat juices intact and allows the meat to cook slowly but thoroughly, retaining its juiciness and not drying out.

Poivre vert

Using the recipe above, replace the black pepper with green pepper, and use the same ingredients though at the end of the cooking process mix fresh cream into the sauce. This is a richer sauce and goes well when the vegetables that you are serving seem bland. When vegetables are rare because of seasonal changes, the dish can compensate by adding an element of richness to the steak itself, though if serving in season with new potatoes, the choice would be the sauce without cream.

French cooking is amazingly versatile. By changing ingredients, each cook can create his or her own sauces based on the foundation of traditionally tested sauces. Ingredients, such as fresh mushrooms in season, can change the taste subtly, as can substituting the shallots for spring onions in season.

Sauces enhance cooking and the experimentation that is awaiting those who are new to discovering the benefits of sauces will eventually decide on which sauces can be defined as the best for serving with steak. These would be the choices the writer would make, based on experience and the most important factor of all, the taste factor.