By Mike Thayer
One of the best compliments to any meat/fish dish is a great pan sauce. Sauces add another texture and some moisture to your dish (and just in case you overcooked that pork chop or chicken breast, you'll need that sauce!), more importantly, it's another layer of FLAVOR!
Knowing how to make a quick pan sauce can turn that plain pork chop into a mouth-watering entree or a boring chicken breast into a, "DAMN this is good!"
One of my go-to preparations when I pan fry a meat or fish is rubbing that protein down with equal parts Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and seasoned salt. I use that as a substitute for breading. After you've cooked that Parmesan/garlic powder/seasoned salt rubbed protein in some olive oil to perfection, remove from the pan, but don't turn off the heat.
It's time to make a sauce. You'll probably notice a bunch of "brown bits" in that pan..... That's FLAVOR! It's all that seasoning rub and olive oil goodness that didn't stick to the chop, chicken, steak or piece of fish. In culinary terms those brown bits are called 'Fond' and that fond is the base for a great sauce.
All you need to do after you remove the protein from the pan is add liquid. Just about anything will do, chicken stock, beef stock (I like to use low sodium varieties, because you've already added salt to the rub and you don't want to over-salt), wine (take the pan off the heat before adding any kind of alcohol), cream, heck even water will do the trick, about a 1/2 cup will do. After adding that liquid, stir things up with a wooden spoon or a whisk to break up the fond and incorporate it into the liquid, creating the sauce. This is a loose sauce, not a gravy, cook to desired thickness and pour over the meat. Parmesan, seasoned salt, garlic and yes, even when combined with plain ol' water, is DELICIOUS! It's another does of YUM!
Bonus, cleaning the pan just got a lot easier!