What's in a Frim-Fram Sauce?
"I don't want French fried potatoes,
Red ripe tomatoes,
I'm never satisfied.
I want the frim-fram sauce with the ausen fay
With chafafah on the side."
The song "The Frim-Fram Sauce" was made famous by the late and great jazz singer Nat "King" Cole. There's no profound metaphor within the lyrics you should be searching for. It's simply an expression for the urgent need of this imaginary sauce. If your wondering, words such as "Frim-Fram", "Chafafah" , and "Ausen Fay" are just forms of doo-wop which are popular in blues. In the song a customer sings about all the items on the menu he doesn't wish to eat such as fish cakes and rye bread or pork chops and bacon. At the end, the customer says that if you don't have the sauce just give me a bill for the water. A fitting end for a rather meaning-less song. However, it's one of my favorite tunes to listen to in the kitchen.
I decided it might be interesting to give this famous sauce some literal meaning. What if the Frim-Fram sauce really existed? I'm not to sure about Ausen Fay (which sounds like a fish to me) or Chafafah (a possible relish of some sorts). A Frim Fram could be whatever you wanted it to be, except for a sauce that already is in existence. The other night at work as I strained the short ribs, I quietly hummed the melody to myself. It had occurred to me that all the vegetables and herbs within the braising liquid where going to be tossed. The combination of veal stock soaked mirepoix, herbs, and fat was invaluable now, just as the Frim Fram sauce was meaningless. What if leftover scraps from braising liquid could be puréed and used as a flavoring agent or better yet... a sauce?
It had all made sense. I asked the chef at work if it were possible and she said it most definitely was. All chefs love to reuse scraps so therefore its not an uncommon thing to do. However, this unwanted surplus had no term or name to itself. With a heap of patriotism, I struck my culinary flag down upon the scraps and declared them my Frim-Fram sauce! Of course the moment wasn't as dramatic as I had envisioned it to be.
I spooned the now valuable castoffs into a quart sized container to bring home. Once in my laboratory of all things food, I had puréed the mixture in a food processor. It came down to a thick maroon colored paste. I could have added some beef broth to the mixture to thin it out and then ladle it across a piece of breaded veal. No, this sauce deserved to be showcased in its glorious renaissance. I found a jar of aborio rice in my small pantry and went shopping for some additional ingredients. Like a mad scientist I had created a dish worthy of a post.
Now without all the exaggerated sarcasm, I had made a Frim-Fram risotto with tandoori lamb sausage (courtesy of Whole Foods Market), crispy bacon, smoked aged Gouda, fried sage and roasted asparagus. To my family's surprise the meal was a success. A hearty dish full of robust flavors with hints of black pepper, cayenne and traces of short rib. The risotto was creamy which helped ease the sauce through its nooks and crannies. The cheese offered highlights of smoked wood that accompanied salted pieces of crisp bacon and mildly spiced lamb sausage. The dish could best be described as a déjà vou. Tasting the pulverized rib fat brings you back to the previous life of the abandoned blend.
The sauce can be taken from the remains of any stock or braising liquid (excluding bones). The recipe below can be done using beef stock instead of chicken stock but I highly recommend a Frim-Fram for this risotto.
Now it's your turn! Tell me what your Frim-Fram Sauce would be. If you send in an original recipe and photo of it usage It might just end up right here on Heirloom!
Eat in Good Company,
10 cups chicken stock
A few sprigs of fresh sage
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup bacon, chopped
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
3 cups Aborio Rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups *Frim Fram sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup aged smoked gouda cheese, grated
4 links of cooked sausage of your choice (preferably spicy)
Salt and pepper taste
In a medium sized sauce pot bring the chicken stock and sage to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
In a large enameled pot over medium high heat, add just enough olive to coat the bottom. Begin to render your bacon in the pot,sitting constantly with a wooden spoon until it is brown and crisp, lower the heat. Using a slotted spoon transfer the bacon to a paper towel or bag to drain, set aside. Into the fat add the onions and sweat until tender. Add the Aborio and stir just coat. Deglaze the pot with white wine stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed. Begin to ladle the hot stock into the rice mixture until it is just submerged in liquid. Stir frequently until almost all the liquid has been absorbed, you should repeat this process 3 to 4 times.
Once the risotto is cooked thoroughly, fold in your Frim Fram sauce, bacon, butter and cheese. Season with salt and pepper and finish with a slice of cooked sausage.
* If you are not in possession of Frim Fram Sauce, simply substitute beef stock for chicken stock (optional). After all, Fram Frim is only what you make of it.
Posted by Jeremy Salamon