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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Easy Sauce Recipes for Summer Food

It’s funny how we think sauces are hot in temperature. Bolognese, hollandaise, marinara, gravy – you get the picture. It’s funny because the most common sauces we make with refrigerated or room temperature sauces are: ketchup, mayonnaise, all the hot sauces we drizzle on everything, BBQ sauce and our ever-present salsa scooped up with corn chips. is done. (Guacamole is considered a “sauce” by some, you know?)

And we Americans are not alone here. (Just not very creative.) Kitchens around the world pour sauces to sip on foods both hot and cold, and all year long.

Here are short recipes for four sauces that beat the summer heat and that come from all over the world.

From Belgium, my grandmother’s homemade mayonnaise. She made a small batch by hand almost every day and used it as a mortar for mixed salads or sandwiches or sliced ​​over more grilled or fried foods. Her grandson used to eat it, when she was not looking, she used to take the spoon out of the jar.

You’ll find pisto, a basil-based blend similar to what we know as pesto, but without the pine nuts, throughout southern France, especially in Provence. There, it brings all manner of foods to life, from toppings for grilled meats and fish to its all-time favorite as a stir fry in both hot and cold soups.

The Spanish love their summer sauces, such as mojo picon, a spicy red sauce made from cayenne pepper and edged with the acidity of the vinegar, which gives it its pungency (“picon,” in a sense), in fact we What can you say about its beauty?

And Indian cooks don’t just sit down to eat anything sauce-less. They are greatly enjoyed in their main dishes as a cold sauce for raita, chili heat or other pepper-hot flavorings. The raita recipe here is a layer on almost any Indian dish, taste on flavor, aroma upon aroma.

Clockwise from top, Homemade Mayonnaise, Mojo Picon, Carrot Raita and Pistou. (Bill St. John, Exclusive to The Denver Post)

My Grandmother’s Homemade Mayonnaise

1/2 to 3/4 cup


  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup canola, safflower or pure olive oil (not extra virgin “cold-pressed” oil)


On a room temperature plate, beat eggs and stir with a fork until creamy. Add a little oil at a time and mix. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.


The word “pisto” originates in the Latin “pestare”, “to crush, grind, or pound.” Makes about 1/3 cup.


  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 12 medium to large leaves fresh basil, torn
  • 12-15 large leaves flat-leafed (Italian) parsley, de-stemmed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil


Using a mortar and pestle (or mini processor), grind the garlic cloves into a paste or coarsely ground with salt. Continue grinding or making a paste by adding basil, parsley, then grated cheese.

Put the crushed ingredients in a bowl and whisk in olive oil, making a thick emulsion. Store refrigerated for 1-2 weeks.

Variation: To make a version of Ligurian pesto, add 1/4 cup of pine nuts while adding the cheese.

Mojo Picon (Spicy Red Dipping Sauce)

“Delicioso! The Regional Cooking of Spain,” by Penelope Casas (Alfred Knopf, 1996). Makes about 1 cup.


  • 1 small (less than 2 inches in length) dried red Thai chile, seeded
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 fresh red Fresno chiles, cored and seeded
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin or ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh oregano or 1/8 teaspoon dried
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh oregano or 1/8 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp imported sweet paprika
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Break up small dried chiles and soak the pieces in red wine vinegar for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, using mortar and pestle or mini-processor, pulverize Fresno peppers, garlic, salt, cumin, thyme, thyme and parsley in small batches, if necessary.

Remove the pepper from the vinegar, reserving the vinegar, and add the soaked pieces to the mixture and crush again so that no large chunks remain.

Add the paprika, oil and remaining vinegar and mix well. Store refrigerated for 1-2 weeks.

Indian Carrot Raita

From “Salt Fat Acid Heat” by Samin Nosrat (Simon & Schuster, 2017). Makes about 2 cups.


  • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated or ground with a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves and tender stems
  • 8 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated carrot
  • 2 tsp finely ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp ghee or neutral oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • salt
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