Normandy sauce is a form of white sauce which is designed to be paired with fish, although it can be used on other foods as well. As the name implies, this sauce takes its inspiration from the region of France known as Normandy. There are a number of variations on basic Normandy sauce which can be used to bring out specific flavors in a dish, making the sauce extremely versatile, and it is also very easy to make, even for inexperienced cooks.
The basis of Normandy sauce is the veloute, considered one of the “mother sauces” of French cuisine. A veloute sauce is made by simmering stock with cream or sometimes a roux, a thickening mixture of flour and butter. Once a basic veloute is mastered, a wide assortment of sauces can be produced, with flavors ranging from the sweet to the tart. Common ingredients in veloute include shallots, mushrooms, tarragon, and paprika, though not usually together.
A basic Normandy sauce includes fish stock, egg yolk, butter, and heavy cream. These ingredients are simmered together until the sauce thickens into a rich cream which can be poured over fish which has been baked, broiled, grilled, or sauteed, depending on personal choice. The creamy sauce has a mild flavor in this basic form which complements a wide variety of fish, from salmon to cod. The high fat content of the sauce also enhances the flavor of a dish, giving it a fuller mouthfeel.
Some cooks simmer ingredients like bay leaves, apple slices, or shallots in their Normandy sauce, and some recipes call for the addition of ciders or Calvados, a type of liquor. These ingredients can make the dish seem sweeter, tarter, or more intense, depending on what is added and how much of it is added. Once a fish has been sauced, it can be garnished with ingredients like parsley, lemon, or dill, depending on personal taste.
In addition to being served with fish, Normandy sauce can be used to dress other foods. White meats like pork and chicken can go well with this sauce, for example, and the sauce can also be used on things like steaks, although the recommendation of ingredients to strengthen the flavor is recommended, as the sauce can feel anemic with a red meat.