While adobo is probably the closest thing to the official sauce of Spain, epagnole is the sauce named after the Spanish. Confusing? The French mother sauce, espagnole, translates to Spanish. How this sauce was named after the Spanish is debatable. One version of the story, and the only one that makes any sense to me, was published by Louis Diat, the inventer of the vichyssoise. He says in his book, Gourmet’s Basic French Cookbook,
“There is a story that explains why the most important basic brown sauce in French cuisine is called sauce espagnole, or Spanish sauce. According to the story, the Spanish cooks of Louis XIII’s bride, Anne, helped to prepare their wedding feast, and insisted upon improving the rich brown sauce of France with Spanish tomatoes. This new sauce was an instant success, and was gratefully named in honor of its creators.”
I’m not terribly impressed with the uncertain history of espagnole sauce. I did however notice that espagnole is the mother sauce of sauce aux champignons. Champignons are mushrooms in French. Champignon sounds a lot like champion to me. And they are indeed related. The common root word is Latin campus, which means field. A champion is someone who fights in the field (of combat) and the mushroom grows in the field.