How to make skinny sauces

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The Cooking Cardiologist, Dr. Richard Collins shows us how.

Skinny  Sauces

Richard Collins, MD

The Cooking Cardiologist©

South Denver Cardiology Associates

1000 SouthPark Drive

Littleton, CO 80125

 Think of a sauce as a “solid liquid”. A sauce clings flavors to food, improves the mouthfeel and hydrates the dish. There are multiple cooking methods to thicken a liquid. Most home-chefs are familiar with starch-based thickeners such as flour, corn starch, tapioca and arrowroot.  The classic technique for thickening is the “reduction” method, simmering a sauce.  Other food ingredients can thicken sauces including proteins of egg yolks and cream, gels such as agar, pectin found in fruit, particles of bread crumbs and purees of fruit and tomatoes.

 The French are known for their sauces. In any true culinary school, it is considered sacrilegious to fool around with the “mother sauces”. A nineteenth-century French chef, Antonin Careme,  classified the five “meres” (mother sauces): brown stock “espagnole”, light stock “veloute”, milk based “béchamel”, emulsion sauces “hollandaise or mayonnaise” and oil/vinegar fusions “vinaigrettes”.

 No need to have these sauces on the side to save calories. Actually, studies have shown that when sauces are requested to be served on the side, a person actually consumes more sauce. So if you are purist, never to eat fat free or low fat mayonnaise, creams or cheeses because of lack of taste, have no fear with these sauces. I look at fat free mayonnaise simply as a vehicle to get from one place to another. No need for high fat here, just adding flavor produces the same taste experience. The calories saved are huge. 1 cup of fat free mayo has 160 calories whereas a cup of full fat mayo has a whopping 1,446 calories with 160 grams of fat.

Heart Healthy Béarnaise Sauce

 This Bearnaise sauce will actually help to lower cholesterol with the addition of plant sterols in the sauce. The FDA has listed plant sterols effective when consuming at least 2 to 3 grams per day. Smart Balance® has 100 mg per serving (1 tablespoon). LDL, the bad cholesterol, can drop as much as 14% when following guidelines. Check web site:

 Typical Béarnaise sauce has 1,040 calories in 1 cup with 105 grams of fat, mostly saturated. This sauce has 70 calories per serving and only 5 grams of fat, 2 grams saturated.

Bearnaise sauce is actually a mayonnaise based emulsion. Consequently, the logical short cut is to use an emulsion already available and fat free mayo will do the job perfectly. This sauce is industrial strength and will hold together, perfect for a meat dish.

 2 T white wine, or substitute cooking wine (available in the vinegar section) or 1 T water with extra 1 T vinegar

2 T tarragon vinegar or rice wine vinegar

¼ cup very finely chopped shallots

1 T finely chopped tarragon leaves

1 T water

½ cup fat free mayonnaise

4 T Smart Balance®, Light Butter and Canola Blend (50% less calories than butter and has 100 mg of plant sterols, a cholesterol blocker)

White or black pepper to taste

In a small sauté pan, add the white wine, vinegar, shallots, tarragon and water. Reduce to 2 tablespoons. Remove from heat.  Cool slightly. Add the mayonnaise to the tarragon reduction. Whisk in the Smart Balance® until melted. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve warm.

Serves 4. Serving size: 2 tablespoons. Total calories: 70, fat 5 g, saturated fat 2 g, carbohydrates 8 g, protein 0 g.

Healthier Hollandaise Sauce

Béarnaise and Hollandaise sauces are like a mother-daughter relationship. Both are emulsions with butter and egg yolks. This sauce is perfect by itself over asparagus or with Eggs Benedict. This sauce, unlike the Béarnaise above, requires attention since it has eggs. Too much heat and the sauce will scramble. If the fat is added too quickly, the emulsion will break. It is best to make in a double boiler over a water bath. Remember, the egg substitute product is already pasteurized, so the sauce only needs to be warmed slightly to thicken.

½ cup egg substitute, I prefer Lucerne® Best of the Egg®

2 T Smart Balance®, Light Butter and Canola Blend (50% less calories than butter and has 100 mg of plant sterols, a cholesterol blocker)

1 t fresh lemon juice

1 t Dijon mustard

Dash of paprika

In a double boiler, heat the water to simmer. Avoid a rolling boil.

In the top bowl, add the egg substitute and whisk in the Smart Balance®. When melted, add the lemon juice, Dijon mustard and dash of paprika. Continue whisking until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat immediately and serve just warm.

Serves 4. Serving size:  approximately 2 tablespoons. Total calories 40, fat 2.5 g, carbohydrates 0.5 g, protein 3 g.

Sandwich Spreads

Red Pepper Garlic Mayonnaise

 ¼ cup roasted red peppers, best in a jar, Mezzetta® red peppers are my favorite

1 small garlic clove, pressed

1 t fresh lemon juice

¼ t cayenne pepper or to taste preference

¼ cup fat free mayonnaise

 In a blender, combine all ingredients except mayonnaise. Blend till smooth. Place in a bowl. Whisk in the mayonnaise. Serve or cover. Can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days Serves 4. Serving size: 2 tablespoons. Total calories 35.

Chipotle Tomatonnaise

 ¼ cup ketchup, no sugar added

1 t finely chopped canned chipotle chiles (heat preference) plus 1 t of sauce

¼ t cumin

1 T fresh lime juice

¼ cup fat free mayonnaise

In a sauce pan, add the ketchup, chiles, sauce, cumin and lime juice. On medium heat, stir until sauce thickens approximately 2-4 minutes. Cool. In a small bowl, add the chipotle ketchup and mayonnaise. Whisk to blend. Serve or store in a tightly covered dish. This spread will keep for up to 1 week. Use on burgers, sandwiches or as a dip. Serves 4. Serving size: 2 tablespoons. Total calories 30.

Dill Shallot Seafood Sauce

2 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped

¼ cup fat free mayonnaise

1-2 t dry dill weed

 Combine all ingredients. Chill. Perfect for salmon. It is much better than tartar sauce. Serves 4. Serving size: 2 tablespoons. Total calories 20.

Lemon Tarragon Mayonnaise

 ¼ cup fat free mayonnaise

2 t finely grated lemon zest, approximately one lemon

1 T fresh finely chopped tarragon.

 Combine all ingredients and chill. Perfect with chicken. Can be stored for up to 3 days refrigerated and tightly covered. Serves 4. Serving size: 2 tablespoons. Total calories 20.