Food - Drink
Use Annatto Seeds To Give A Vibrant Boost To Beige Sauces
By WENDY LEIGH
The "five French mother sauces" often reign supreme in chefs' arsenals — including creamy beige or white sauces such as béchamel, hollandaise, and velouté because of widespread use. Depending on the recipe, light-colored sauces can benefit from color or flavor infusions, and that's where annatto seeds enter the picture.
The rich-red seeds most commonly appear in ground powder, paste, or liquid forms when used for cooking and they impart a rosy hue to sauces as well as a hint of sweet, peppery flavor and a nut-forward floral aroma. The neutral color of béchamel can be unappetizing, so steeping annatto seeds in the roux milk adds an easy explosion of color.
The seeds also harbor health-boosting antioxidants, antimicrobial, and potential anti-cancer properties, and may help with eye and heart health. You can even infuse natural color into a sauce by adding annatto as an oil, which can be made by frying dried whole annatto seeds in a neutral-tasting oil such as canola or grapeseed.