Back by popular demand, after You can be saucy…for cheap. and More Cheap Sauces, let’s get out the recipe cards (or press the print button) for a half dozen sauces which spice up the dish without breaking the bank. One is even a secret recipe.
Up for some authentic, exotic sauces? Let’s cruise the Mediterranean and the Polynesian Islands for some recipes to kick dinner up a notch…or seven. We may as well toss in a couple classic American sauces while we are out traveling.
Classic Mediterranean Fish Sauce
Pan-fried fish is not strictly a European food. All coastal countries have a native twist to the campfire favorite. This recipe is not one you are likely to try in the wilderness. White fishes work best with this sauce. Choose fresh water or salt water fish and fillet.
1 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
1 1/2 TBS tiny capers, well drained
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
Pan fry fish fillets of your choice. Remove fillets from the pan to a platter to keep warm. Over medium heat, add butter and olive oil to skillet and scrape pan to dislodge any fish bits stick in the skillet. Cook until butter melts, but not separates. Add capers, anchovies, parsley and lemon juice. Cook for one minute, stirring gently. Pour sauce over fish fillets.
Do not be afraid of the anchovies. They do not overpower the dish, but add a layer of flavor which makes the sauce perfect for the sweetness of a white fish. A tablespoon of anchovy paste can be substituted for anchovy fillets, in a pinch. Be sure to stir well to incorporate the anchovy paste.
Stimulating three parts of your tongue at once may send your taste buds into overdrive, but there is no denying this versatile sauce is all aces. Based on indigenous ingredients, a classic Polynesian sauce can top most any dish.
1/3 C soy sauce
1/2 C pineapple juice
5 oz (one small can) crushed pineapple
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
Simply stir all four ingredients in a large measuring cup. Add the sauce to stir fry vegetables and/or meat. The sweet of the sauce counterpoints spicy meats well. Serve it over sliced, roasted chicken or pork. Poached or pan-seared fish is a hit under this sauce.
Quick Greek Style Pasta Sauce
If you do not have time for the tried and true six-hour Italian version of pasta sauce, why not try the Greek interpretation?
6 oz (medium jar) artichoke hearts
1/4 C olive oil
1 C feta cheese, crumbled
3/4 lb cooked pasta, drained
Drain artichoke hearts, reserving liquor. Chop them coarsely. Toss pasta with chopped artichoke hearts, reserved liquor from jar and remaining ingredients.
If you choose hearts which are not marinaded, add two cloves crushed or pressed garlic, two tablespoons finely shredded fresh parsley or cilantro and one tablespoon shredded fresh basil.
Easy Cocktail Sauces
Cheaters’ cocktail sauce is equal parts ketchup and horseradish sauce. If it makes your eyes water, add some extra ketchup to douse the fire on your tongue.
For the cocktail sauce you are likely to find in your favorite seafood restaurant, try this easy sauce.
2/3 C bottled chili sauce
1 TBS prepared horseradish
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
Stir together all ingredients and chill for 30 minutes before serving with any seafood: baked, grilled, roasted, pan-fried, deep-fried, boiled or raw.
For the sauce served with Red’s seafood dishes, try this recipe:
2 oz horseradish
1/2 TBS Cajun spice
1/2 C bottled chili sauce
2 tsp Tabasco pepper sauce
2 tsp sweet pepper sauce
Juice of one lemon
Beat spice mix into horseradish. Stir in next four ingredients. Chill for 30 minutes before serving. If ketchup is substituted for chili sauce, add more pepper sauce to taste.
Red hand mixes pepper sauces. She tends to add a few extra dashes of sauce to the mix, tasting often. Red’s personal choice for pepper sauces are:
- Classic Tabasco (red bottle)
- Tabasco Habanero sauce
- Tabasco Green Jalapeño Sauce
- Tiger Sauce (sweet pepper sauce)
Stir Fry Sweet ‘n’ Sour Sauce
This sauce is designed as an all-over sauce for your stir fry dishes, whether they are predominantly meat or vegetables. This is not the sauce for deep fried foods or dip.
1 tsp cornstarch
1 TBS cool water
1/3 C rice vinegar
3 TBS ketchup
3 TBS dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 TBS rice wine
Dissolve cornstarch in water at the bottom of a 4-cup bowl. Stir in next six ingredients. Add sauce to wok or skillet for the last one minute of cook time. It takes about one minute to thicken.
If you do not have rice vinegar on hand, white vinegar will do, but the sauce will be a little tangier. The wine can be foregone if you do not have any on hand, but better to substitute a dry sherry or another white wine. If you choose not to cook with wine, consider substituting a tablespoon of sweet citrus juice instead of skipping it.
Ultra Secret Burger Sauce
One of the popular hamburger joints in America made a revolution of its secret sauce. You can make it at home for cheap. What is the wonder recipe?
1 TBS ketchup
1 TBS mayonnaise
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
Personally, the sauce is better with salad dressing…but do not tell the burger place!
Which one of these recipes would you like to try first? What is your favorite sauce of all time?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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