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Food and Friendship

with Chef Nadia Tilkian

Published: Monday, March 3, 2014 12:25 p.m. CDT

Nadia Tilkian is the executive chef at Waterleaf restaurant on the campus of Glen Ellyn’s College of DuPage. A former Clarendon Hills restaurant owner, Chef Nadia's culinary resume includes experience at Chicago locations Bistro 110 under Chef Glenn Wielo and Zinfandel, as well as service as a sous chef and chef de cuisine at the Zagat-rated Barrington Country Bistro.

Mustard Sauce: Simple but Elegant I like to keep things simple but very elegant and flavorful. I’ve found that often, too many ingredients cover the flavor and spoil the broth. At Waterleaf, we use only the freshest, seasonal and locally-grown ingredients and by keeping things simple, we are able focus on the flavor of the dish. A perfect example is the use of our unique sauces. Dining is a sensuous event and an alluring dish should engage your sense of sight as well as your senses of smell and taste. A sensational sauce not only adds flavor, it adds color and visual texture, and the resulting entrée looks as enticing and artful as it tastes.

Although it may feel intimidating at first, anyone can create a delicious and memorable sauce simply by using fresh, well-chosen ingredients, attention to detail and a little bit of patience. The key is to go “slow and low.” Take your time, be sure to stir often and don’t overcook the ingredients or burn the mixture.

This richly layered mustard sauce is a perfect example of the power of simplicity. Relatively quick and easy to prepare, it’s well-suited for the cold days of winter and will add incredible flavor and flair to your dish. Pair it with chicken, pork or fish for a tantalizing and unforgettable meal.

•    2 tbsp corn oil
•    3 minced shallots
•    1 cup white wine
•    1 cup chicken stock
•    2 cups heavy cream
•    ½ cup Dijon mustard
•    1 tbsp champagne vinegar
•    salt
•    white pepper
•    2 tbsp cold butter

To begin, heat a pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add corn oil and swirl until the bottom of the pan is coated. Next, sweat the minced shallots in the pan, stirring often. Sweating aromatic vegetables helps draw out moisture and soften the cell walls. It is important not to brown the shallots, cooking them only until they are soft and translucent.

Next, add the white wine and cook uncovered until the amount is reduced by half. Though it takes a little extra time, reduction will intensify the flavor of a liquid as well as cut down on the acidity of wine. Continue to stir frequently to prevent the sauce from burning. Once the wine is reduced by half, add the chicken stock, and reduce it by half as well. Next, add the cream, stirring and heating the sauce until it is reduced by half, once again. Finish your sauce by adding Dijon mustard, salt and pepper (to taste), vinegar and butter.

When finishing and plating your entrée keep in mind, a little sauce goes a long way. The sauce should add flavor and color to the main dish, not mask it.

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