Recipe report: Signature sauces

sauces

Turn a simple dish into a menu signature by pumping up flavor and presentation with a housemade sauce or condiment. The six recipes here demonstrate how to elevate everything from a chicken sandwich to vegetable sides and even a dessert with a drizzle or dollop of a special sauce.

1. Crispy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

lions

At Seven Lions restaurant in Chicago, chef Russ serves up a saucy Buffalo chicken sandwich with layers of fiery flavor. The chicken is marinated overnight in buttermilk and hot sauce, then dipped in a breadcrumb and corn flake coating to achieve the perfect crispiness. The signature Buffalo sauce, made with pickle juice, is smothered on as a topping for additional heat, along with a douse of creamy buttermilk dressing for a touch of cool.

Click here for the recipe.

2. Blueberry Jerk Barbecue Sauce

blueberry jerk bbq sauce

A blend of sweet, sour and savory ingredients is what gives a classic barbecue sauce its authentic flavor. Here, chef Morse combines blueberries with bacon, garlic, onions, ketchup and two vinegars, then kicks up the heat with a generous measure of jerk seasoning paste. The sweet-spicy barbecue sauce pairs especially well with pork ribs and chicken.

Click here for the recipe.

3. Sweet Potato Wedges with Avocado Chimichurri

sweet potatoes with chimmichurri

In Argentina, chimichurri is typically served with grilled meats and fish, but at Cheeky’s restaurant in Palm Springs, Calif., the fresh herb sauce accompanies baked sweet potato wedges. The addition of diced avocado to the mix of cilantro, parsley, garlic and jalapeno makes for a chunkier chimichurri and a more substantial dish.

Click here for the recipe.

4. Pecan Hand Pies with Creamy Lemon Schmear

lemon hand pies

Sauces can differentiate desserts as well as savory dishes. Chef-owner Dennis Chan of Blue Bamboo in Jacksonville, Fla., won an honorable mention in the dessert category for this recipe after competing in a contest that celebrates independent neighborhood restaurants. This single-serve, handheld version of a classic pecan pie features an accompaniment of a creamy lemon schmear as a unique dessert pairing.

Click here for the recipe.

5. Tomato Butter

tomato butter

At Magnolias restaurant in Charleston, S.C., Culinary Director Don Drake preps a big batch of tomato butter to enhance everything from pork chops to seafood and vegetables. He gives instructions for making the tomato butter recipe ahead and storing it in sterilized jars. A favorite of tomato-loving customers is a dish of fried green tomatoes served in a pool of garlicky tomato butter.

Click here for the recipe.

6. Akaushi Bavette Steak with Yucca and Mango Chimichurri

mango sauce

At Sun Surf Sand in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., wood-fired steaks take on bitter, sweet and spicy accents with a trio of condiments. The beef is first seasoned with a coffee-chili dry rub for a kick of caffeine and spice, then paired with a gingery mango sauce and finished off with a drizzle of housemade chipotle vinaigrette. The triple punch adds up to a distinctive taste of the tropics.

Click here for the recipe.

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