By: Chef John Besh

Great cooking takes great planning, and my basic pan sauces give you a superbly flavorful way to finish a dish at the last minute. They can be made ahead of time and frozen, just as you'd do with stocks.

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup minced fennel bulb
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh tarragon
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 cup Basic Shellfish Stock


Heat the oil in a small skillet over moderate heat. Add the onions, garlic, fennel, and pepper flakes. Cook the vegetables, stirring often, for 3 minutes.

Add the thyme, bay leaf, cream, vermouth, and stock, increase the heat to high, and reduce the sauce by half, 10-12 minutes. Strain sauce.


Basic Chicken Pan Sauce
Substitute Chicken Stock for Shellfish Stock

Basic Fish Pan Sauce
Substitute Fish Stock for Shellfish Stock

Basic Oyster Pan Sauce
Substitute oyster liquor for Shellfish Stock

Basic Crab Pan Sauce
Substitute Crab Stock for Shellfish Stock