Even if you don't know the word fond, you probably know about the flavor power of the delicious bits stuck to the bottom of a pan after cooking a piece of meat or vegetables. These small pieces that are leftover have a caramelized quality, which cooks covet. The fond adds a great umami boost to whatever is cooked in the pan next. That's why you'll see many recipes call for reusing the same pot you cooked in to begin building a dish.
Fond forms the basis of a number of pan sauces. The pan is deglazed with liquid, and can quickly turn into a sauce or gravy. Peppercorn sauce, which draws inspiration from the classic French dish steak au poivre, is one example of a pan sauce. In addition to fond, the sauce is traditionally made of cream, brandy, beef stock, shallots, and, of course, peppercorns. Green peppercorns are usually the star of this sauce, though some recipes use black peppercorns instead. So how do you make peppercorn sauce without fond? It's not as hard as it may seem. All you need is some butter.
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Butter Works Wonders
Butter can work in place of fond because it adds fat. And that fat does a great job holding onto the seasonings in a dish. So you could start out your peppercorn sauce by sauteing the shallots and peppercorns in butter as a base, and then bring more in to finish it. That final bit of butter –- a tablespoon or so –- at the last minute will really give you the lusciousness you would get from fond.
Using butter instead of fond also means that you can whip up a peppercorn sauce immediately. While it's often paired with steak, the sauce is also a great addition to many other dishes. Peppercorn sauce jazzes up steamed vegetables and perks up a plate of rotisserie chicken. It can even make a delicious sauce for pasta, too. Peppercorn sauce also works as a marinade and as a way to up the flavor of a cream-based soup.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.