To make a roux, you need flour and some fat

BURNING QUESTIONS

December 20, 2006|By Gholam Rahman | Gholam Rahman,Cox News Service

I want to make a roux without fat. Will it be possible to do so in a Teflon-coated pan?

The very definition of roux, a French word meaning reddish, is flour cooked in fat. Traditionally, half butter and half flour are used. Other kinds of fats, such as vegetable oil, can be substituted, but the flavor will be inferior.

Extra-virgin olive oil may be a more healthful choice while also imparting its own flavor. Whether you use a coated pan or bare metal pan, some fat will be necessary.

The roux is used to make sauces, and the cooking time depends on what kind of sauce is desired. Cooking for just a short time, just to take away the raw taste of flour, will yield a white roux, while progressively longer cooking will yield blond and then brown roux.

The utensil the roux is cooked in should be heavy-bottomed and the temperature medium-low so the flour-fat mixture cooks and colors evenly. Fast cooking results in a floury taste.

Many cooks prepare a roux, often on the darker side, and store it in the refrigerator for future use. It firms up, then comes to temperature over heat quickly.

Flour, of course, is one of the traditional thickening agents for sauces and gravies. Browning the flour will give the sauce in which it's used a slightly nutty flavor and a darker shade. But remember that as flour is browned by itself, it also loses its thickening power, although it can withstand fairly long cooking once the liquid has been added.

Thickeners like arrowroot, or even cornstarch, begin to lose their thickening power rapidly.

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