Menu Inspiration

Find Your Secret Sauce

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The sauce makes the dish

Do you agree? Many diners certainly would. And chefs put house-made condiments on the Top 10 list of trends for 2017 (Nation’s Restaurant News). The possibilities for sauces range from bold and colorful to nuanced and delicate.

good taste

There are many styles of sauces – and ways to use them – that bring flavor and flair to all varieties of COP. Think chicken pot pie “hand pie” dunked into buttermilk-tarragon sauce. Picture steak plated with a cup of chimichurri: a blend of EVOO, garlic, parsley, Serrano pepper, red wine vinegar, oregano, S&P. Or, just look at Instagram for eggs braised in tomato-pepper sauce, aka shakshuka, inspired by Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. Twists like balsamic vinegar plus caramelized onion are delicious updates for traditional turkey gravy.

Signature starters, too, pair with from-scratch sauces. Like traditional breaded appetizers, updated with funky, salty dip made with bagoong, a fermented-shrimp condiment.

butter is back

Sauces featuring full-fat dairy have returned. On the upscale end: Take the liquor from cooking mussels (shallot, garlic, white wine); reduce and add Shamrock Farms butter; put mussels back in. The result goes great with fish, such as sea bass. For a dessert example, Flavor & The Menu calls out butterscotch, and mentions that it can “marry to other more daring flavors, like miso and chile pepper.” This sweet-spicy sauce brings on-trend flavor poured over a dense spice cake, or atop bread pudding. Tips: always use unsalted butter, and melt just enough to incorporate into the base.

especially for autumn

Fall flavors are so inviting right now. Seasonal-favorite maple syrup teams with apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, chili powder, dried mustard and garlic to marinate chicken wings during cooking and douse them afterward. Combine the ubiquitous cranberry with on-trend orange, lovely cherries and a sweet, fruity red wine for chunky sauce: a combination that works especially well with pork dishes. Drizzle a warm cinnamon and brown sugar sauce to transform cheesecake into a “cold weather dessert.”

go alfredo with a twist

Beyond pasta, alfredo sauce complements other dishes, and brings them into play for holiday celebrations.
Seafood: Add lemon juice, garlic, thyme, parsley
Chicken: Add parmesan, artichoke hearts, garlic, mushrooms
Steak: Add gorgonzola, cracked black pepper & herbs
Appetizers: Add chorizo, roasted bell peppers, jalapeño, spinach, pepper jack

on the ranch

Adding pantry ingredients to this popular dressing equals unique sauces for party appetizers.
#1: crumbled bacon, smoked paprika, tomato paste
#2: avocado, wasabi, pickled ginger
#3: cucumber, scallions, lemon juice

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