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Fish Sauce Base Recipe

This can be a sauce in its own right (when it could be called Noilly Prat Sauce); but its also an excellent base for added chopped chives, sorrel, watercress or even lumpfish 'caviar' (on no account add any extra salt with this).

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For 550/1 pint sauce:

- 300ml/10 fl oz Fish Stock (q.v) or part of a Fish Stock cube (but it won't be so good)
- 90ml/3 fl oz Noilly Prat (Dry Martini won't do)
- 70ml/2 fl oz Dry White Wine
- 120g/4oz Shallots, skinned and finely-chopped
- 120g/4oz chopped Leek
- 500ml/18 fl oz Double Cream
- 60ml/2 fl oz Sauternes (optional, but adds to the sauces character)
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) Cornflour, dissolved in 1 tablespoon (15ml) cold water
- 60g/2oz Butter
- Salt and freshly-ground Pepper, to taste


- Put the fish stock, Noilly Prat, white wine, leeks and shallots into a stainless steel, then reduce by half.

- Add the cream, Sauterne (if using) and the dissolved cornflour.

- Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 minutes before whisking in the cold butter, until you have a smooth mixture and the sauce has slightly thickened.

- Check the seasoning, then sieve into a clean container.

• can be prepared ahead up to this point. If keeping, rub the surface with a lump of butter, to stop a skin forming.

Just before serving add your chives, sorrel or watercress to the heated sauce; they will then retain their fresh colour.

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