Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Saucier...Of Sorts

I believe that it is vital for one's mental health to eat well at dinner during the week. After a long day at work, a (possibly) uninspired lunch and a commuting experience which resembles that of a sardine in a can, one must treat oneself.

And although take-out certainly has its place, and when I crave the yook gae jang from the Korean place in my neighborhood I won't deny myself, in general I don't find eating out of styrofoam containers on my living room floor to be particularly soul satisfying.

So what's a busy working girl to do? How to elevate a quick weeknight dinner above the merely pedestrian? Sauce, that's how. On anything from meat to broiled chicken to fish to pasta. You will not recognize your forlorn little chicken breast once anointed.

I have recently become rather obsessed with tahini, perhaps because I finally found a brand that I like? I'm telling you, I love it almost as much as I love peanut butter, which is saying something. Mixed with some grated garlic (I like a lot), salt, lemon juice and as much water as necessary to get the consistency that you prefer, tahini sauce punches up lamb, chicken and just about anything else it comes in contact with.

My mom turned me onto Mark Bittman's sauce for swordfish (but really, put it on anything you like) recently, and I've been a fan ever since.

A 1/4 cup of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup minced shallots, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons lemon juice combined with salt and pepper to taste will have even the most avowed fish haters chowing down. And do not neglect your potatoes...they benefit greatly from a drizzle (or more) of this lovely concoction.

If all of this chopping and mixing and juicing is more than you feel up to, I have another option for you. A perfect fried egg. Once you cut into the yolk the beautiful golden matter will adorn whatever you are eating with the most perfect sauce in existence. Nature has been good to us, no?

(bulgar with tuna sauce and harissa)


brismod said...

Delicious - I love dijon vinaigrette on most anything.

Mlle Paradis said...

Nice post Laura! My husband brought me back the Ottolenghi cookbook from London last year and it introduced me to so many delicious combinations of tahini, yogurt, harissa, parsley, pomegranate molasses........I see you're reading Maximum City. Great book. Tell us what you think!

Laura [What I Like] said...

brismod - you're so right, dijon is one of those things that goes with everything one can possibly imagine.

Mlle Paradis - I actually have a gift voucher for amazon uk so I will most certainly be putting it towards Ottolenghi! I'm loving Maximum City, although unfortunately I haven't had as much time to read lately as I'd like...

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

A nice post, Laura! We often do simple sauces when we're cooking and you're right, they absolutely do elevate the most ordinary of meals. Some years ago, I was talking to a colleague, describing what I'd eaten for dinner the night before. She wistfully said, "I can't remember the last time I had sauce with dinner." I thought for a moment and couldn't remember when we'd last had dinner without it.

Mary-Laure said...

Oh yes, tahini is great! I love it but never seem to have any in my kitchen.

wambalus said...

As I am not a fan of peanut butter, I do love tahini, and tahini sauce in particular (on falafel or just about anything).

I know someone from south america that would top rice and beans with a fried egg and sriracha and call it a meal. Cheap and very nutritious.

The Townhouselady said...

You're making me drool.

Angie Muresan said...

I'm a sauce girl myself. And now I'm super hungry and salivating over those photos.

materfamilias said...

Thanks for the inspiration. For a while, about a year ago, inspired by oeufs moellets in salads and on crepes in France, I was adding a soft-boiled or poached egg to salads or whatever -- and you've reminded me to try that again! (I think it would be great on a baked potato, my default meal with a side of roast broccoli and some fried mushrooms).
Also going to try your tahini sauce -- yumm! thank you.

Barbara said...

Hi Laura thank you for dropping by my blog. I've never used tahini in a sauce. I use it in hummus. I will try it as a sauce.

columnist said...

Tahini on toast with honey is a delight in the morning. Thanks for stopping by.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Laura...it all looks so good..what time is supper, dear one?

Laura in Paris said...

I love everything simple but delicious!

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