Feeling saucy…

You saucey little minx…

This morning I sent out an APB to my fellow chef and long time friend Pauly regarding a post I wanted to do about my favourite sauces, and inviting him to be part of the spectacular. He cordially accepted my invitation and went on to write an absolute cracker of a story about sauces complete with moistness references as would be expected. Covering all the points that needed to be covered one might say.

So what does that leave me with? Not much actually. Just a pair of mittens hand knitted be my pet carnie, a lame reference to a saucy little minx, and three sauces that I would consider to be right up there on the top of my list right now. The reason I say they are at the top of my list right now is because that list changes from time to time. I like to keep things fresh you know? I am air wick… I am the lavender in your grandma’s undies drawer… I am a white Will Smith… I am… grasping at straws.

You heard it straight from the source (finally got a decent pun in there!).

Salsa Verde

This is the original OG all time favourite for me. It changes a little bit from time to time depending on what’s thriving in our garden so don’t be afraid to adjust the quantities or type of herbs according to your taste. Do be afraid of dragons though, them and centaurs.

Salsa verde goes kick-ass with pretty much anything you want to put it with; pork belly, steak, chicken, fish, pasta and your girlfriend’s breasts.

1 cup each picked parsley, mint, basil and rocket
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers and the vinegar they live in
1-2 anchovies, or not if you are vego or one of those strange people who just doesn’t like anchovies
1 cup olive oil

  • Put everything except oil into a food processor or blender. Blitz and add oil slowly. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
  • This will last for a few days in the fridge no probs

Chimmichurri

This is my second favourite sauce of all time, which was the only reason I needed to put it second on the list. It is probably becoming quite apparent that I do have a penchant for fresh herby dressings and this one has the extra kick of a bit of chilli heat to weed out the men from the boys, and the bearded ladies from the carnies. This steak sauce may have originated in Argentina, but now it is destined for my belly.
2 cups each picked oregano and parsley
3 long red chilli, seeds in if you like it hot, chopped roughly
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
Salt

  • Same method as the salsa verde folks

Romesco

This is a cracking sauce for seafood of any description and I love seafood so I love this sauce and it loves me.

6 red capsicum

3 ripe tomatoes

4 long red chilli

20 cloves garlic

3 slices day old bread (sour dough is good), crusts removed

1 cup whole blanched almonds

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

  • Preheat oven
  • Season capsicum, tomatoes, chilli and garlic and roast with a splash of olive oil at 240C for 10 minutes
  • Add bread and almonds and roast for a further 3 minutes
  • Push garlic out of skins, peel capsicum and chilli, deseed chilli’s if you don’t like it hot
  • Blitz with pan juices and vinegar until smooth
  • Emulsify remaining oil slowly into sauce
  • Check seasoning
  • Have a big fat pile of seafood ready to go!

You could easily halve any of these recipes for a single meal but they never last very long around these parts.

Feeling saucy? I know I am…

Paul’s Caul… my favourite three sauces

My favourite three sauces

“Hey chef, gonna do a favourite sauces/sauciness/saucey minx post if yer keen? Three each??”

This is what I awoke to this morning… and my answer is I’m keen as mustard! (First sauce pun of the post and most likely the last as I cant think of any more off hand)

Now you may all be wondering why I haven’t be contributing much of late to the general up keep of this fine blog, or you may be wondering who the fuck I am and why is this stranger assuming he knows what I’m thinking? Well I will answer both questions with the same answer…

I have been busy, my name is Paul and I can read minds.

Now we have that all cleared up I shall move quickly yet casually to the topic du jour (this is French for I’m a complete wanker).

Sauces or as we commonly know them… moisture.

Sauces are without a doubt in the top five of most important things you put on a plate, now with there only being 4 major components to most dishes and the 5th being the actual plate, this doesn’t at first make you look at sauces with reverence and built a small sauce shrine to worship these liquids gods of the plated variety. But as with all of my points they come at you like a written word ninja, points that are disguised yet deadly in their purpose.

Allow me to unravel my seemingly indistinguishably point, what I’m proposing is that every component is equally as important as each other except maybe the plate in this case, which although it holds great importance (pun intended) is not integral in the dishes creation. What does make sauces stand out in my humble opinion is how tricky they can be to get right, to balance and to be patient enough in some cases to make properly.

Sauces for me tie a dish together they connect flavours, they can be the ever-needed colour and life a dish requires, they can be the hero of a dish or a subtlety of flavour that nothing else could achieve. I do so love sauces and moisture in general if you look at life itself, without moisture we simply wouldn’t be alive, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the simply beauty of a blossoming flower, a well lubricated engine or an enjoyable sexual experience… you all knew it was coming (pun)

So what are my favourite three??? Well that is ridiculous, I can’t say I have a favourite three they have such differing purposes.

If you where to say what are your fav 3 for steak then it would be… béarnaise, creamy pepper sauce or jus.

If you asked for fish then it would be… hollandaise, beurre blanc or pesto like saucy thing

But since the title of this post is ‘my favourite three sauces’ then I will give the recipes for three I like a lot, maybe even love but definitely find very sexy in a non fetish, to get up in my sauce kinda way!

Ponzu (the Mr Miyagi of sauces)

I fucking love this sauce and it can be used in such a large variety of ways… actually that’s not right, it can be used with a large variety of dishes but always as a sauce… that’s better.

80ml mirin

600ml soy

¾ cup rice wine vinegar

1 cup orange juice

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup lime juice

20 g bonito flakes

1 nori sheets cut up into strips

  • Easy peazy lemon/orange/lime squeezy, whack all ingredients together and leave overnight for the nori and bonito to infuse then strain the next day… you will need to balance by adding either more citrus juice or more soy… don’t leave unstrained for to long or it tastes like fish’s arse juice.

Mustard glaze

I stole this recipe form ‘Wild Fire’ in Sydney, great restaurant I think and some good mates of mine where working there years ago so I knapped this little beauty, which is traditionally a fondue sauce/accompaniment. But I just love it with steak.

4 whole tomatoes (chopped up)

5 echallots

4 garlic cloves

300ml white wine

cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

3 tablespoons hot English mustard

6 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • For this you cook out the eshallots, garlic and tomatoes then add wine, cook until soft, then blend in blender or with a stick blender.
  • Add the mustards and season to your liking with the cayenne, salt and white pepper.

Cardamom emulsion (I thought it was spelt Cardamon?)

This is one of those wanky chef sauces but exceptional if used with restraint.

2.5 cups of capsicum juice (use a juicer)

¼ cup whole green cardamom

  • Reduce this in a pan by half, slowly aprox 45 minutes.
  • Strain then whisk in 4 tablespons of butter
  • Before serving froth up with hand blender.

The world of sauces is so effing large as dressing can fall into this category as well as butters, foams, emulsions and anything that brings moisture to the table (pun) so to have a favourite three really is a redundant question but I feel I have done my part to answer the question and fulfill the challenge.

May your day be filled with moisture and night be void of dryness.

P

And Now A Werd From Our Sponsor… Fresh Herbs

I’m gonna go on about fresh herbs are fair bit, but with good reason I think. They are the best. They can lift a dish from the realms of boring or just barely amusing to vibrant and just damn beautiful. A feat that can barely be touched by minced herbs or garlic in jars or tubes.

So you have your little herb garden now and it is cranking. You have realised that fresh herbs hold a whole new world of goodness. But what are you gonna do when that supply is too plentiful for your needs?

Well, there’s always pesto, salsa verde or chimmichurri for a start. Salsa verde is up a few posts back but the other two are right here…

Basil pesto
2 cups of picked basil
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
1/2 cup toasted pinenuts or macadamia’s*
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil

  • Blitz in a food processor or blender, slowly adding the oil, until you have something that looks like store bought pesto but probably tastes twice as good.

Chimmichurri sauce
2 cups each picked oregano and parsley
3 long red chilli, seeds in if you like it hot, chopped roughly
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
Salt

  • Same again. Blitz. Add oil slowly.

And if you want to store some herbs for a later date or just to have a quick mixed herb explosion on hand for a soup or pasta, then try freezing some of your fresh produce down.

Take one or more or your favourite herbs, and blitz with just enough water to get them moving until you have a nice green puree.
Divide the green goodness up into an ice cube tray and freeze.
Now you have pre-portioned cubes of herby goodness ready to go when you are.

Siiiiiiiiiiiiicko.

*to toast nuts toss them in a pan or under the grill for a coupla minutes until they are lightly browned. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.