Sauce Week Recap

Well hey there: did you have a good Sauce Week? I’d say it was a big success but then again maybe I’m biased. Here’s a recap of all the posts that made up our week:

Rib-Eye Steak with Sauce Béarnaise
Espagnole Sauce: My Culinary Everest by Diana Fithian
Lemon-Caper Beurre Blanc Sauce (Or: Don’t Tell Your Doctor) by Steve Johnson
Gina DePalma’s Fonduta by Gina DePalma
What’s Your Favorite Sauce Recipe?
Pesto Trapanese by Dara Bratt
Pesto By Hand by Alex Dickson
Scallops and Cauliflower with Caper-Raisin Sauce
Trinidad Harvest Hot Sauce by Tim Artz
Making Your Own Hot Sauce Will Change Your Life by Matt Morris
Amanda Cohen’s Grapefruit Beurre Blanc by Amanda Cohen
Peter Dale’s Pecan Muhummara by Peter Dale

That’s all folks! Thanks to everyone who participated and for making this week so very saucy.

Scallops and Cauliflower with Caper-Raisin Sauce

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Not to pat myself on the back too eagerly, but it takes a certain talent to adapt a fancy restaurant dish into something that you’d really want to eat at home. Years ago, when I was lucky enough to eat at Jean-Georges, I ate one of his more famous dishes: a thin sliver of cauliflower balanced on a perfectly seared scallop sitting in a pool of a delightfully exotic caper raisin sauce. That sauce was unforgettable: both sweet and briny and endlessly fascinating. I knew I had to make it for Sauce Week, but I didn’t want to do anything overly fussy with the cauliflower and scallops. What I ended up making is maybe one of the best weeknight dinners I’ve ever made, and the sauce is so easy, you won’t believe your eyes.

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Pesto By Hand

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[One of my oldest friends, Alex Dickson, bravely agreed to tackle one of the hardest Sauce Week challenges: pesto by hand. By hand! Here’s her account of how it all went down. Take it away, Alex!]

The ingredients for a basil pesto sauce are simple but Adam challenged me to do this pesto old school Italian style, so the process was what made me nervous.

Nervous about making pesto? Wow, Alex, that sounds like something that’s really worth getting anxious about. Your life must be challenging. Stop judging me, Reader! I wanted this pesto to be good because I was making it for my parents, and cooking something for my father that he really likes is one of my favorite things.

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Pesto Trapanese

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[My friend Dara Bratt–an award-winning filmmaker and unabashed bon vivant–positively pounced when I mentioned “Sauce Week” and here’s her delightful contribution. Take it away, Dara!]

Recently, I had a girls’ night at a fairly new restaurant in Brooklyn called “Rucola”. The conversation was great, and the food equally impressive, the standout dish being the pasta, which my friend ordered; “Garganelli – Tomatoes – almond pesto, cherry tomatoes, zucchini.”

It was so light that the impact of flavor was shockingly impressive. A pesto with almonds at the core instead of pine nuts?! Cheaper? Healthier? Sold!

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Sauce Week: What’s Your Favorite Sauce Recipe?

Hey folks! Are you having a good Sauce Week? There are still plenty of posts coming–two pesto posts, two hot sauce posts, two more chef posts and a post about Jean-Georges’ caper raisin sauce (which I served on top of scallops and cauliflower, yum)–but in the meantime, I’d like to know: What’s YOUR favorite sauce recipe? Share it in the comments and, who knows, maybe I’ll make one of them for next year’s Sauce Week. Stay saucy.

Lemon-Caper Beurre Blanc Sauce (Or: Don’t Tell Your Doctor)

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[Sometimes I think that Craig’s dad, Steve Johnson, writes more popular posts than I do when he’s at the helm of my site. Here he is, joining the Sauce Week fray, with a Lemon-Caper Beurre Blanc that I hope he makes for me the next time I visit Bellingham. Take it away, Steve!]

Several years ago, when I was developing a real interest in home cooking, my friend and I took an evening cooking class sponsored by our local community college. The recipes and instruction were from Joe Merkling, then chef of the restaurant at the Bellwether Hotel in Bellingham. The dishes he demonstrated that evening included Panko-crusted chicken breasts with a butter sauce. The sauce we made was a classic French beurre blanc (white butter), enhanced with lemon juice, capers and parsley. It was so delicious, so decadent and so rich that when Adam Roberts, The Amateur Gourmet, invited me to do a post during “Sauce Week”, I jumped at the chance. What a perfect excuse to make a sauce that uses a whole cup of butter, heavy cream and herbs!

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Espagnole Sauce: My Culinary Everest

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[My friend Diana Fithian–playwright and home cook extraordinaire–kicks off Day 2 of Sauce Week with this epic post about one of the world’s most difficult and important sauces. Take it away, Diana!]

When Adam asked if Iʼd like to contribute to Sauce Week, and sent a list of sauces to choose from, there was one that jumped out at me right away: Espagnole Sauce, arguably the most time-consuming of the French mother sauces and the precursor to demi-glace. Itʼs part recipe, part exercise in masochism – first you make stock, then you make a brown sauce with the stock, then you reduce that sauce with more stock until you get demi-glace, and only then do you use the resulting demi-glace to make a handful of “small” sauces by combining it with other ingredients like mushrooms and wine.

I told Adam to sign me up.

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Rib-Eye Steak with Sauce Béarnaise

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A few months ago, when I first conceived of Sauce Week, I set out to make a dinner for myself that promised to be so outrageously decadent, I’d have to close my blinds before eating the first forkful. The premise was pretty basic–steak and potatoes–with one key difference. I was going to drench the whole thing in that most indulgent of French sauces, a sauce that contains more butter than most people eat in a month, yet a sauce so rich and sultry it’s pretty much the height of sophistication and elegance: I’m talking, of course, about Sauce Béarnaise.

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