The Parisian Sauce You Should Be Pairing With Fish

Just can't get enough of chic, French food? To be honest, neither can we. While there are so many effortless recipes perfect for lazy days or even a classy picnic in the park, the other side of French cookery is rooted in refinement. But, why not add a flair of haute cuisine to something as basic as a baked filet of fish? An elevated seafood dish is just a velvety, Parisian sauce away.

A fundamental part of French cuisine, mother sauces were first proposed by Chef Marie-Antoine Carême and later redefined by Chef Auguste Escoffier. Providing an element of flavor, texture, and aesthetic to a dish, mother sauces — béchamel, velouté, espagnole, tomate, and hollandaise — also act as a foundation to which other derivatives can be made. 

Of the main sauces, velouté remains a favorite thanks to both its creamy luxuriousness and extreme versatility. Made by whisking a golden roux with stock, the sauce can be the starting point of so many others like a buttery sauce Normandy or citrusy sauce Allemande. It's also the foundation of the delectable sauce Bercy.

Seafood sings when paired with sauce Bercy

Despite that a traditional velouté is made with veal stock, it can also be made with fish stock when crafted as the base for a sauce Bercy, which isn't to be confused with a similarly named sauce Bercy II that instead uses a demi-glace and is meant to be served with roasts.

Named after one of Paris' most stunning districts revered for its wine markets, Bercy sauce is a reminder of that oenological heritage. With a splash of wine and a few shallots, the silky sauce is actually pretty simple to make. After browning butter and shallots in a saucepan, Cuisineaz explains that equal amounts of dry white wine and fish stock can be whisked in, simmering until the liquid has reduced by half. Next, the prepared fish velouté is added and brought to a boil before the heat is reduced and fresh herbs like parsley are added. Likewise, some recipes might even call for some freshly cracked black pepper or a squeeze of citrus, should you please.

Imparting another dimension of umami, Bercy can also be coupled with anything from delicately baked sole to heartier filets of seared salmon. You can even try pairing the aromatic and mildly tangy sauce with shrimp, crab, or even shellfish such as clams. The only thing that's left to decide is what to drink alongside your entrée!