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Published October 06, 2010, 12:00 AM

Halgrimson: Sauces a ‘sign of civilization’

“SAUCE, n. The one infallible sign of civilization and enlightenment. A people with no sauces has one thousand vices; a people with one sauce has only nine hundred and ninety-nine. For every sauce invented and accepted a vice is renounced and forgiven.” – Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) “The Devil’s Dictionary”

By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, INFORUM

“SAUCE, n. The one infallible sign of civilization and enlightenment. A people with no sauces has one thousand vices; a people with one sauce has only nine hundred and ninety-nine. For every sauce invented and accepted a vice is renounced and forgiven.” – Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) “The Devil’s Dictionary”

If a sauce can atone for my sins, I’m all for it, and according to Ambrose Bierce, a good sauce does the trick. It also enhances the many dishes it can be added to.

So, to rectify some of my misdeeds of the past year – and use up the last of the herbs from our garden – I’ve been making Chimichurri Sauce and Sauce Gribiche. I chose them because I love the way Chimichurri and Gribiche sound when I say them. And both are delicious.

Chimichurri Sauce comes from Argentina and can be spooned over beef, chicken or fish. Used sparingly, it is also good on potatoes, carrots and even cooked cabbage.

Sauce Gribiche is a mayonnaise-like cold sauce made by blending hard-cooked egg yolks and mustard with a mild oil. Chopped pickles, capers, parsley and tarragon are added to the sauce to complete it.

Chimichurri Sauce

2 garlic cloves, peeled, root removed

1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro or oregano

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

Chop garlic in a processor and add parsley and cilantro or oregano. When herbs are chopped, add oil, wine vinegar, hot pepper sauce, cumin and salt. Whiz again and it’s ready to serve. It will keep in the fridge for several days. Bring to room temperature before using. Makes about 1 cup.

Chimichurri Marinade

Use this recipe to marinate flank steak.

6 large cloves garlic, peeled, roots removed

3/4 cup packed fresh parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak

Place garlic in a processor and whiz to chop. Add parsley and oregano and whiz again. Add olive oil, wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and pulse blade to mix marinade. Put steak in a zipper bag and add marinade. Place in a pan and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, turning from time to time. Bring to room temperature and broil or grill to desired doneness. Discard marinade.

Sauce Gribiche

4 hard-cooked eggs

2 hard-cooked egg yolks

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 cup good olive oil

1/2 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 bunch of fresh tarragon, chopped

1/4 cup capers, drained and chopped

1/2 cup cornichons, drained and chopped

Put the whole eggs and yolks, mustard, and some salt and pepper in a large bowl and mash them well together. To this paste add the vinegar and then the olive oil, drop by drop as if making mayonnaise. Keep the sauce creamy by adding small amounts of vinegar or warm water, as necessary.

Complete the sauce by adding the chopped herbs, capers and cornichons. Taste and correct the seasoning.

Notes from the cook

  • Cornichons are very small gherkins.
  • Garlic roots are removed to make the flavor of the fragrant bulb more mellow.
  • Good olive oil is labeled “extra virgin” and comes from the first pressing of the olives. Light-colored olive oils are usually more neutral than the darker varieties.

Sources: http://allrecipes.com/recipes; www.epicurious.com/recipes


Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com

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