How to make picotta sauce

9
10
Joined Apr 19, 2004
Hey.
I need help perfecting my picotta sauce. For those of u who don't know it's a lemon-garlic-butter type sauce, but it has an almost creamy texture. I can get the taste, but HOW DO YOU GET THE TEXTUE????? Please help me!

Basil :chef:
 
112
12
Joined Feb 19, 2004
Picatta is a basic butter sauce made in a pan, it's a variation on the French Sauce, buerre blanc. The technique depend on how much you are making. If you'r making very little you swirl in the butter, a little bit at a time, at a temperature that is just barely hot enough to melt the butter. If you're making more, you use a whisk, but either way the important thing is to incorporate a large volume of air by agitating the sauce. That's how you acheive the right consistency and finish to the sauce. It's also important that the acidity be high enough to emulsify the butter correctly, so you must reduce the wine and lemon juice properly before adding the butter. In addition to the classical ingredients of shallots, and capers, I always wait until right before plating to finish with chopped parsley (minced, fine, and washed). I've also done an italian variation using green olive instead of caper, and oven dried lemons instead of fresh juice. Pollo alla Limone.

Dan Brown
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
Just to elaborate a bit on what Dan Brown said: the key to a velvety butter-based pan sauce is to add cold, whole butter, cut in small pieces, to the pan as the final step, and to swirl it in thoroughly but gently. Think of it as turning the butter back into cream as you mix it into the juices in the pan.
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,067
524
Joined Jun 11, 2001
The easier and safer way is to add a touch of cream after you reduce the liquid. The other thing is to properly cook the shallots. The sugars and starches in the shallots will help hold the sauce together.

Kuan
 
818
16
Joined Oct 13, 2001
Adding a hit of cream is cheating as far as my old euro trained chefs would say . I always thought what they did not know would not hurt them as it was realy hard to keep up some nights on saute . Besides it worked and I never drew any complaints until I told my chef years later over a few brews and his response was" we euro trained chefs do things the way they are supposed to be done ,period! While you americans do whatever is necessary to get the job done". I myself took it as a compliment.Good job kuan.
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,067
524
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Haha D, did you read the above? ... It didn't even occur to me basil baker said "it almost has a creamy texture." :) MUST BE THE CREAM!! LOL!

Kuan
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
Hey, Kuan: add enough butter and ANYTHING will feel creamy! :D

Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
 
9
10
Joined Apr 19, 2004
Thanks to everyone who replied. I'm going to try it again today, and I bet it'll work! Thanks so much. :crazy:
 
18
10
Joined Apr 9, 2004
if you dredge your sauteed item in flour, this will definately help the bind, stability and texture.
 
112
12
Joined Feb 19, 2004
Nice feedback-

I concurr regarding dredging, putting the chicken into flour seasoned with salt and white pepper (unless you'd like black spots on your chicken), then throughly patting off all the excess flour helps develop a better color and sear on the chicken breast.

I've always made picattas for line work by searing the breast breifly in oil on the skin side, then flipping it over and finishing it in the oven. I'll use a 450 F oven, so that it cooks quickly, and so that the pan is hot enough that I can finish the sauce in the pan quickly (hot food hot) in order to sell the chicken. I'll add about a 1.5 TBSP brunrois shallot with 2 TBSP capers, cook quickly to sweat, then deglaze with just enough wine to pull up the pan fonde (2-3 TBSP), then add the lemon juice (1/2 fresh squeezed lemon per 8 ounce chicken breast), and quickly reduce au sec (until almost completely dry). I then finish with whole butter (1 ounce, cold, cubed), and adjust seasonings.

I've never used cream in a picatta, as binding picatta is easy, thanks to the additional acid from the capers. I will on occasion, use cream as a second reduction (after white wine is reduced) to stabalize a buerre blanc, if it is a large quantity, or for an extended service period, or if I'm unsure about the chemical behavior of one or more components (beet-horseradish for example).

I am not saying I think it's necessary to always follow classical cooking to the highest degree, but proven excellence is rarely frowned upon, and knowledge is vital to growth.
 
818
16
Joined Oct 13, 2001
I agree Dan but: as a line cook trying to keep s##t together during a more than hectic service period ,well a hit of cream kinda holds it together . Monte beurre and will help but a buerre blanc does not last long especially under a heat lamp. dredging these items in flour helps before the saute but how many of you have worked for the perfectionest chef and been told no way do you flour the saute? Cream is half way to butter so this would be my humble excuse for cheating when needed.........OK only 1 sense this time..................Doug....................
 
112
12
Joined Feb 19, 2004
I think the real trick is finding the exact spot in the line where it will be held that;
1. it will be at the ideal service temperatue, right below the breaking point, nice and warm, and
2. you have access to it as you finish the plate.

I watched a chef I worked for work together a buerre blanc that held for about 10 hours (by the time we got back from the catering). He just adjusted where it was held incessantly, and it kept the sauce suspended. As he made the sauce he added perfectly cubed butter in very slowly, painfully classically slowly. It was a meditation for him, and the sauce was excellent.

As for the dredge, you have to throw the breast from one hand to another, removing all loose flour, as to avoid adding the flavor of uncooked flour.
 
338
11
Joined Oct 23, 2003
i tend to avoid pan sauces for my menu items because of lack of consistnecy when slammed. Tasting seems to go out the window and broken sauces abound :(. A nice buerre blanc made hot and kept on the table will finish the dish after additions are made; shallot, caper, vino, etc...Also technique is important when making a buerre blanc-make it hot and it will keep hot. Too many folks whisk just to incorporate-not heat and emulsify.
Warm holding shelfs on the side or above the line will also keep the sauce and dish at temp.
hth, danny
 
Top Bottom