I am not a fan of sauces because I like to taste my food and if you are eating well prepared food, a sauce should not be needed. But there are a few sauces I will share that I must say are versatile and delicious and add depth to what you choose to grill, bake, roast or broil. You can even add these to grain bowls, rice or pastas. These sauces work for both carnivores or vegetarians even vegans. Here are a few favorites:
1 shallot (chopped), 1 jalapeno (seeded & chopped), 4 garlic cloves (chopped), 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped), 1/4 cup Italian parsley (chopped), 2 Tablespoons oregano (chopped), and 3/4 cup olive oil.Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl, and let sit 10 minutes. Stir in fresh herbs and let sit 10 more minutes. Using a fork, whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and plenty fresh ground pepper. This can be used as a dipping sauce for meat or hearty fish or as a marinade.
1 large roasted red pepper from a jar or broiled under a broiler, put in a bowl and covered with plastic wrap for 10 minutes then skin peeled off, 2 garlic cloves, smashed, 1/2 toasted slivered almonds, 1/4 cup tomato paste, 2 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley, 2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 cup olive oil and lots of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. More Chopped Italian Parsley to garnish. Pulse all but olive oil in a food processor and slowly stream in olive oil. This sauce can be made 1 week ahead and refrigerated. This is delicious with fish, all meats and even vegetables as a dip.
1/4 of a small white onion, finely chopped, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 cup fresh chopped mint, 2 seeded, chopped jalapenos, 1/3 cup avocado oil, and salt. Mix all ingredients except oil, well. As you mix, stream in oil and season with plenty of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. This relish is great with all fish, poltry or pork.
Tarragon Mustard Aioli
1/2 cup Best Foods Mayo, 1 Tablespoon Fresh chopped tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried, 2 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1 Tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar, salt and lots of fresh pepper. Mix everything together and if you would like a little lemon juice goes well. This is better as a vegetable dip, great with steamed/grilled artichokes/asparagus or even as a dip with a crudites, and also goes nicely with poached fish.
Salsa Verde, My Own Version
This is a favorite. I play around with whatever herbs I have on hand. I throw a handful in the blender, with a couple smashed cloves of garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and occasionally nuts. I puree it all together and then stream in good olive oil and season with lots of fresh ground pepper. I even will add chopped scallions, roasted leeks or shallots. It always turns out delicious and light.
These are some sauces to play with and experiment with. These are a few house favorites. Some are old family recipes. Pesto’s are also great. I play around with different herbs/greens as well, such as kale, arugula, spinach, watercress, cilantro and mint. You don’t always have to add cheese and play around with different toasted nuts: walnuts, pistachios, cashews, almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and more. You can’t go wrong.