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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Condiments

TIP OF THE DAY: Grilled Chicken Or Fish With Pico De Gallo

There are many different types of salsa, but our favorite is the finely chopped fresh salsa called pica de gallo.

Pico de gallo, pronounced PEE-coh-deh-GAH-yo, is Spanish for “rooster’s beak.” How did it get that name? It once was eaten between the thumb and finger in a way that resembled a pecking rooster. (Salsa as finger food?!)

Pico de gallo is made with finely diced raw tomatoes, onions, lime juice and cilantro. Jicama and other raw ingredients can be added. It differs from salsa fresca and salsa cruda in that the ingredients are uniformly chopped; but the terms are often used interchangeably. Another term is salsa mexicana.

Most Americans not of Mexican ancestry limit their use of pico de gallo to Tex-Mex recipes—chips, nachos, tacos, tortilla chips, quesadillas, etc.

But this better-for-you condiment provides great flavor and nutrition to everyday better-for-you foods, like grilled chicken and fish.

Those in the know use fresh salsa to complement grilled meats—especially pork and steak—egg dishes, rice and other recipes.

   

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Grilled chicken breasts topped with pico de gallo salsa. Delicious and good for you! Photo courtesy QVC.

 
We make a lower-calorie dip by blending it into nonfat Greek yogurt, and serve it with crudités as well as chips. When people hesitate to eat salad, we mix it into a vinaigrette.

This recipe is from QVC’s chef David Venable. Serve it with a large salad, other sides of choice, and a few tortilla chips for crunch.

If you’re pressed for time, buy the salsa (it’s in the refrigerator case). Then just grill, top and enjoy!

 

A bowl of pico de gallo surrounded by tortilla chips

Pico de gallo is delicious with so much more than tortilla chips—and low in calories, too. Photo © WayMoreAwesomer | Fotolia.

 

RECIPE: GRILLED CHICKEN OR FISH WITH PICO DE GALLO

Ingredients For 4 Servings

For The Pico De Gallo

  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Optional: tortilla chips
  •  
    For The Chicken Or Fish

  • 4 (5–6 ounces) boneless, skinless chicken breasts/fish fillets
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Preparation

    1. MAKE the pico de gallo: Toss all the ingredients in a medium-size bowl until evenly combined. Place into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

    2. PREPARE the chicken or fish. If chicken, place the breasts between 2 pieces of wax paper. Use a meat mallet to pound them to a 3/4″ thickness.

    3. PLACE all the ingredients into a large zip-tight bag. Gently toss so the marinade evenly coats the chicken/fish. Place in a bowl in the refrigerator and marinate at least 8 hours, or up to 12 hours.

    4. PREHEAT the grill to high. Place the chicken breasts onto the hot grill and cook for 4–5 minutes until char marks appear. Flip the chicken and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the chicken reads 165°F, about 4–5 more minutes. Top each chicken breast with pico de gallo before serving.
     
    HOW TO GET CROSSHATCH GRILL MARKS ON THE MEAT

    Most people are happy with simple horizontal grill marks. But if you’d like to get fancy and create crosshatch marks, just rotate the meat.

    Position the piece(s) at a 45-degree angle (the 1 o’clock position), sear, then turn 90 degrees (back to about the 11 o’clock position). Flip and repeat.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Put Bourbon In Your Barbecue Sauce

    makers-mark-beauty-whiskey-wikia.com-230

    Add bourbon to your barbecue sauce. Photo courtesy Whiskey.Wikia.com.

     

    Are you making barbecue sauce for the holiday weekend? Consider adding some bourbon, which is trending with chefs.

    According to Datassential MenuTrends, bourbon barbecue sauce, which first became popular in the South and Midwest, appears on 32% more restaurant menus than it did four years ago. The trend is spreading nationwide.

    Bourbon adds notes of smokiness and wood (like oak does for wine). Other ingredients to add to your sauce include brown sugar, garlic, liquid smoke, maple syrup, molasses, onion, sriracha sauce (or fresh chiles) and tamarind.

    In addition to burgers, chicken, pulled pork, ribs and wings, bourbon barbecue sauce is also ending up in “Texas Eggs Benedict,” inspired by the classic with pulled pork instead of Canadian bacon and bourbon barbecue sauce instead of the hollandaise (or along with it).

    For starters, try the recipe below. It’s extremely easy to make—just combine the ingredients and heat!

    If you’ve already purchased a bottle of barbecue sauce, you can use it as a base. Place it in a saucepan with the bourbon and any of the other ingredients below, to taste.

     
    RECIPE: BOURBON BARBECUE SAUCE

    This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.com. It can be made up to two weeks in advance.

     

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light (mild) molasses
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRING all ingredients to boil in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
     

     

    ribs-sauce-EZForyu-IST-230

    Make your own barbecue sauce, or enhance one that you’ve purchased with bourbon. Photo by E.Z. Foryu | IST.

    2. LOWER the heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced to 2 cups, stirring often (about 10 minutes).

    3. REMOVE from the heat; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Rhubarb Ketchup

    rhubarb-ketchup-tasteofhome-230

    Rhubarb and tomato ketchup. For a smooth texture, use an immersion blender or food processor. Photo courtesy Taste Of Home.

     

    Need something to bring to a Memorial Day cook-out? How about homemade ketchup? Pack it into mason jars and tie a ribbon around the neck.

    Go one step further and make rhubarb ketchup, a condiment from yesteryear.

    A combination of the familiar tomato and the less-familiar tang of rhubarb (now in season), the recipe below adds notes of cinnamon and pickling spices to burgers, fries, sandwiches and other foods.

    It’s how ketchup used to taste, before the bland tomato sweetness of major national brands took over.

    It’s very easy to make ketchup at home. Prep time is just five minutes, plus an hour to simmer and another hour to chill.

    This recipe is courtesy of Taste Of Home.

     

    RECIPE: RHUBARB KETCHUP

    Ingredients For 6-7 Cups

  • 4 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients except the pickling spice in a large saucepan.

    2. PLACE the pickling spice on a double thickness of cheesecloth, gather the corners of cloth to enclose and tie securely with string. Add to saucepan.

    3. COOK 1 hour or until thickened. Discard the spice bag. Cool the ketchup. Smooth with an immersion blender, if desired.

    4. STORE in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

     
    MORE KETCHUP

  • Here’s a homemade tomato ketchup recipe that uses honey instead of sugar. It includes variations for chipotle, cranberry, curry, garlic, horseradish, jalapeño and sriracha ketchup flavors.
  • Check out the history of ketchup, a condiment and table sauce that originated in Asia and wasn’t made with tomatoes until centuries after it was brought to the West. The Asians made it with pickled fish and the Brits made it with mushrooms. Tomato ketchup was born in the U.S.A.
  •  

    rhubarb-trimmed-beauty-goodeggsNY-230

    Rhubarb, ready to turn into ketchup. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | New York.

     

    BEYOND BURGERS & FRIES: 10 USES FOR KETCHUP

    Burgers, fries and other fried or breaded food—chicken, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, zucchini fries—are obvious. Meat loaf sandwiches are a given, as are breakfast eggs. Here are ten more everyday condiment uses for ketchup.

  • Baked Beans: Mom topped her baked beans recipe with ketchup and bacon strips before placing the dish in the oven.
  • Barbecue Sauce: Read the labels—most have a ketchup base! Browse homemade BBQ sauce recipes and add your own favorite ingredients.
  • Cocktail Sauce: Mix with horseradish.
  • Dip: Mix ketchup with plain yogurt, or serve it straight with potato chips.
  • Hot Dogs: We grew up with mustard on hot dogs, and discovered well into adult hood that many people use ketchup instead.
  • Meat Loaf Glaze: A favorite topping in American meat loaf recipes: Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of ketchup.
  • Russian Dressing: Combine equal proportions of ketchup and mayonnaise.
  • Steak Sauce: Melt a stick of butter in a sauce pan, add three minced garlic cloves, simmer a bit and stir in a cup of ketchup. Serve hot or room temperature.
  • Sweet & Sour Sauce: Add Thai fish sauce and fresh lime juice.
  • Thousand Island Dressing: Combine ketchup with mayonnaise ans sweet pickle relish.
  •   

    Comments

    GIFT: Maille Mustard Collection

    maille-4-jar-gift-box-230L

    A gourmet gift for a mustard lover. Photo
    courtesy Maille.

     

    A Maille mustard boutique opened near us recently. If you love mustard, make it a destination stop when you visit Dijon, London, Melbourne, New York, Paris or Sydney.

    They are meccas for lovers of fine mustard, as well as gherkins, vinegars and vinaigrettes. The thrill: tasting some 20 different mustards, all so delicious from the spoon that we could have devoured an entire jar.

    Established in 1747* in Paris, Maille (pronounced MY) is known worldwide for its sublime mustards and vinegars. From the outset, the company supplied the kings of France and other monarchs, including England and Russia.

    The brown mustard seeds are grown in the heart of Burgundy, and most of the mustards are made with white wine. Some are smooth, some are whole grain (delightfully chewy!).

    Each year, the product team explores new combinations of ingredients that achieve a complex taste profile and trending flavors.

    There are more than 30 mustard flavors, some seasonal specialties. You can purchase them individually or in preset gift boxes of four, six and nine varieties. The website currently sells:

  • Apricots And Curry Spices
  • Basil
  • Black Olive
  • Black Truffle
  • Blue Cheese
  • Candied Orange Peel And Ginger
  • Celeriac, Black Truffle
  • Chablis Mustard
  • Cognac
  • Dijon Blackcurrant Liqueur
  • Fig And Coriander
  • Fine Herbs
  • Gingerbread And Chestnut Honey
  • Hazenuts And Black Chanterelle Mushrooms
  • Lemon And Garlic
  • Honey
  • Honey And Balsamic Vinegar
  • Lemon And Harissa
  • Mango And Thai Spices
  • Morel Mushroom And Chablis
  •  

  • Parmesan Cheese And Basil
  • Pesto and Arugula
  • Pistachio And Orange
  • Pleurote and Chanterelle Mushrooms
  • Prune And Armagnac
  • Red Pepper And Garlic
  • Roasted Onions And Wild Thyme
  • Saffron And Crème Fraîche
  • Sauternes
  • Shallots, Chervil And Chanterelle Mushrooms
  • Sun-dried Tomato And Espelette Pepper
  • Walnuts
  • White Wine Mustard
  • Wholegrain Chardonnay Mustard
  •  

    tasting-bar-230

    Grab a [disposable] spoon and dig in at the tasting bar. Photo courtesy Maille.

     
    After tasting the 15 or so mustards on the bar, it was hard to pick a favorite; but that day, it was Fig And Coriander, a whole grain mustard.

    Find all of the mustards online at Maille.com.

     
    MUSTARD GIFTS

    A special four jar mustard gift set in an elegant black box includes Dijon Blackcurrant, Morel Mushroom, Saffron and Isigny Crème Fraiche, and Cognac($40). Individual jars also are packaged in a black box.

    The boutiques also have six- and nine-jar sets, not yet on the website.

    If you get to a boutique location, you’ll be charmed by the mustards on tap. Served from old-fashioned ceramic pumps, a choice of three basic mustards and one seasonal specialty draws mustard into old-style stoneware jars with sealed with cork stoppers. Fans buy mustard by the jar and get frequent refills.

    If you’ve never thought mustard could be magical, head to Maille boutique. You’ll be hooked—and will have an ongoing choice of gifts for your foodie friends to use on everything from sandwiches to elegant recipes, of which there’s a selection on the website.
     
    *Since 2000, Maille has been owned by the Unilever Group.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ways To Cook Fish

    Lent began yesterday, the 40-day period from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday (this year on April 2nd). During Lent, observers recognize Christ’s sacrifice by giving up something pleasurable. Around the world, the most common Lenten practice is to give up meat. In the U.S., seafood sales soar during the six weeks of Lent.

    Whether you’re a lent observer, or simply want to eat more healthfully, here’s inspiration from GetFlavor.com, a magazine and website for professional chefs.

  • Baked fish: salmon wrapped in phyllo dough with dill and lemon sauce; quiche; en papillote; Salmon Wellington
  • Cured/pickled/smoked: ceviche, gravlax, pickled herring; smoked bluefish, cod, salmon, trout, tuna fillets; smoked fish pâté
  • Deep-fried fish: battered, tempura or breaded; calamari, fish and chips, fritters, nuggets, shrimp
  • Dips and spreads: pâté, taramasalata, whitefish
  • Grilled fish: whole fish or fillets; kebabs or skewers; cod, sardines, shrimp, snapper, whitefish
  •  

    pan-sauteed-catfish-230

    It couldn’t be easier: Pan-sautéed fish topped with a light salad. Photo courtesy Whole Foods Market.

  • Pan-fried or sautéed fish: Trout, soft-shell crab, salmon or trout patties
  • Poached fish: crab legs, salmon, shrimp cocktail, whitefish
  • Raw fish: carpaccio, sashimi, sushi, tartare, tataki
  • Roasted fish: fillets, steaks, whole fish
  • Steamed fish: fillets, steaks or whole fish; mussels, gefilte fish
  • Stews and casseroles: bisque, bouillabaisse, chowder, cioppino, curry, gumbo
  • Stir-fried and sautéed fish: Asian-style stir fry, blackened, with pasta
  • Specialty: caviar, crêpes, flan, mousse, pancakes, poke, risotto
  •  

    black-bass-porcini-brodetto-scottconant-230

    You can make this nicely-plated restaurant dish. Just place grilled bass or other fish atop a bed of grains or vegetables and surround with broth or sauce. In a pinch, you can make a sauce from a can of creamed soup. Photo courtesy Chef Scott Conant.

     

    BOILING, POACHING OR STEAMING: THE DIFFERENCE

    These three related cooking techniques are both healthful and easy. Here are the nuances:

    Poaching

    Poaching is a gentle cooking method used to simmer foods in a hot, but not boiling, liquid. Water is often used as the poaching liquid but its flavor is often enhanced with broth or stock, juice, vinegar or wine.

    Typically, vegetables (carrot, celery, onion), citrus (lemon, lime, orange), herbs and/or spices are added to the liquid for additional depth of flavor. Chicken breasts, eggs, fish/seafood and fruit are good candidates for poaching.
     
    Boiling

    Boiling is more intense than poaching. Foods are cooked in rapidly bubbling liquid, most often water. Poaching is best suited to foods such as starches and vegetables that can withstand the high heat and the agitation of rapidly moving water.

    Beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower hearty greens (collards, kale, turnip greens), pasta, potatoes and rice are some of the most frequently-boiled foods.

     
    Steaming

    With this technique, foods are cooked by steam generated from boiling liquid. Water is most often used because little to no flavor is transferred to the food from the steam. Since there’s no direct contact with water, steaming retains the shape, texture and bright color (e.g., of asparagus or other vegetables and fruits) without becoming water-logged or soggy.

    Steaming also prevents vitamins and minerals from dissolving into the cooking liquid. Fruits, proteins, vegetables and even desserts—cakes, custards and puddings) can be steamed.

    For instructions on each of these techniques, visit CampbellsKitchen.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Non-Ketchup Dips For Fries & Onion Rings

    baconnaise-firebox-230

    Baconnaise, bacon-flavored mayo, is good
    stuff (but stick to the regular, not the Lite).
    Photo courtesy LiteBox.com.

     

    When Chef David Venable of QVC wrote us to suggest Beer-Battered Onion Rings with Horseradish Dill Dipping Sauce—the recipes are below—we thought: What else works as a condiment with French fries and onion rings instead of ketchup?

    For a change of pace or a special occasion, try these condiments, dips and sauces:

  • Aïoli (garlic mayonnaise), the classic for Belgian frites (recipe)
  • Bacon mayonnaise like Baconnaise
  • Blue cheese dip (here’s our favorite)
  • Chipotle ketchup, curry ketchup or sriracha ketchup (recipe)
  • Ginger-sesame sauce (recipe below)
  • Homemade lemon or lime mayonnaise (recipe—grate zest into the mayo to taste)
  • Korean dipping sauce, based on tofu, red pepper paste, soybean paste (recipe)
  • Ponzu sauce
  • Saffron mayonnaise (recipe)
  • Salsa, red or green
  • Spicy mayonnaise (like chipotle or wasabi mayo)
  • Vietnamese dipping sauce, sweet and tangy, with lime juice and Thai chiles (recipe)
  • Yogurt dip—tzatziki or raita
  •  
    RECIPE: GINGER-SESAME SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together the ingredients in a small bowl.

     

    RECIPE: HORSERADISH DIPPING SAUCE

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WHISK together the mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish paprika and dill in a small bowl. Set aside and cook the onion rings.
     
    RECIPE: FRIED ONION RINGS

    Ingredients

  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
  •  

    onion-rings-horseradish-dipping-sauce-qvc-230

    Onion rings with horseradish dipping sauce. Photo courtesy QVC.

  • 3 large onions, preferably Vidalia, sliced into 1/4-inch rings and separated
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CLIP a deep-frying thermometer to the side of a deep, heavy pot. Add 2 inches of canola oil to the pot and slowly heat the oil to 350°F. While the oil is heating…

    2. WHISK together the flour, egg, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne, salt and black pepper in a bowl. Gradually whisk in the beer, stirring until a thick batter forms.

    3. DREDGE the onion slices in the batter. Using tongs, add four or five onion rings to the hot oil and fry for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Turn them halfway through cooking. (Cook the onion rings in batches or the oil won’t stay hot and the onion rings will be soggy rather than crisp.)

    4. USING tongs, remove the fried onions to a wire rack or paper towels to drain. Cook the remaining batter-dipped onion rings. Serve hot with the dipping sauce.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Jam

    savory-beauty2-230

    Savory jams. From top, clockwise: tomato
    jam, garlic jelly, onion jam and pepper jelly.
    Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Jam is a preserve of crushed whole fruit, boiled with sugar into a sweet spread. The use of jam to describe a food dates at least from the 1730s, and probably derives from the verb jam, which refers to something tightly pressing between two surfaces (in this case, referring to crushing the fruit).

    Over the centuries, there have been jams based on vegetables: garlic, onion, tomato and more recently, bacon jam, often made by adding luscious bacon to an onion base. Caramelized onions or shallots are a chunkier form of onion jam.

    Some jams are both sweet and savory. Pepper jelly, for example, adds bell peppers or hot chiles into a sweet base. Savory herbs—basil and rosemary, for example—can be combined with fruits to add a savory dimension.

    House-made savory jam is trending at fine restaurants nationwide. It won’t appear on supermarket shelves any time soon, but look for them at specialty food stores, farmers markets and online. If you can’t find what you want, look for recipes and make your own savory jam.

    Why pay attention to savory jam? Versatility, and an easy way to add flavor to numerous recipes. Savory jams work as general condiments, dips, glazes, spreads and thickening agents for sauces.

     
    12+ WAYS TO USE SAVORY JAM

    You can use savory jams to enliven food at every meal. Sure, you can spread them on toast; but you can also:

  • Add to the pan when sautéeing. Since the flavors of savory jam are so concentrated, only a teaspoon is needed. Try shrimp sautéed with tomato jam, garlic and a pinch of harissa.
  • Add to sauces, especially when deglazing a pan.
  • Serve as a meat condiment, an update of mint jelly.
  • Use as a burger or sandwich (including grilled cheese!) condiment instead of ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard.
  • Serve as a fish/seafood condiment (especially onion or garlic jam).
  • Make a jelly omelet.
  • Add to a vinaigrette (try pepper jelly).
  • Serve as a condiment with cheeses (especially saltier cheese) and charcuterie.
  • Create canapés, with bits of meat or vegetable (try tomato jam with roasted sweet potato rounds).
  • Make crostini appetizers or snacks.
  • Serve with grains.
  • Fold into mac and cheese (especially bacon jam!).
  • Combine with cream cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt for a creamy spread or dip.
  • Dilute with vinegar or soy sauce into a dipping sauce.
  •  
    Flavor And the Menu, a magazine for chefs, reports chefs using bacon-chile jam in a Brussels sprouts salad, for example, bacon marmalade crostini topped with blue cheese, tomato marmalade on a BLT, tomato-jalapeño jam on flatbread and savory tomato jam as a dip for fries.

     

    JAM, JELLY, PRESERVES: THE DIFFERENCE

    The jam and jelly group falls into the category of spreads.

  • Jelly is sweetened and jelled fruit juice, a clear product that will hold its shape.
  • Jam is a mixture of crushed fruit and sugar, cooked to the texture of a thick purée.
  • Preserve is similar to jam but contains large chunks of fruit.
  • Conserve is similar to a preserve but usually contains more than one kind of fruit and often nuts.
  • Marmalade is citrus-based and contain the fruit’s rind as well as the flesh.
  • Fruit spread is made with fruit juice concentrate or low-calorie sweetener replacing all or part of the sugar.
  • Fruit butter cooks fresh fruit with sugar spices until thick and then blends it to a smooth consistency.
  • Fruit curd is a creamy spread made with sugar, eggs and butter.
  • Chutney is a spiced condiment made of fruit or vegetables. It is typically served as an accompaniment to food, not as a spread.
  •  

    sundried-tomato-jam-spiceamecooksWP-230r

    Sundried tomato jam on goat cheese or cream cheese: a quick and easy crostini. Photo courtesy SpiceAmeWordpress.com. Here’s the recipe.

     

    Check out our Jam & Jelly Glossary for more information and other types of spreads.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Grilled Fish Or Chicken With Salsa

    Salsa has been America’s favorite condiment since 2000, when it supplanted ketchup in sales. But it actually has been a favorite condiment for thousands of years.

    The wild chile was domesticated about 5200 B.C.E. and tomatoes by 3000 B.C.E., both in Central America. The two ingredients were combined into a condiment, incorporating other ingredients like squash seeds and even beans (the predecessor of one of our favorites, tomato, corn and bean salsa). The Spanish conquistadors, taking over in 1529, called it “salsa,” the Spanish word for sauce.

    Salsa was not used as a dip for tortilla chips, which weren’t invented until the late 1940s in Los Angeles. It was a general sauce for meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. (Here are the history of salsa and the history of tortilla chips.)

    So today’s tip is: Take salsa back to its origins and use it as a sauce for fish and poultry. Here’s the easiest way, from Jillipepper, a New Mexico-based salsa maker.

  • Fish steaks or fillets, 4-6 ounces each
  • 1 salsa, jar or homemade
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRUSH the fish liberally with the salsa.

       

    montreal-salsa-chicken-mccormick-230

    Salsa-coated chicken. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     
    2. COOK on a grill over medium heat or under the broiler. Turn and brush with salsa every 5 minutes until fish is done.
     

    When you use salsa with chicken or fish, it can be traditionally savory, or sweetened with fruit. (See the different types of salsa.)
     

    SWEET SALSA

    If you like things sweet—and easy—McCormick has a popular Salsa Chicken recipe that combines canned tomatoes with apricot preserves, and a Montreal Salsa Chicken that combines mild salsa with peach preserves.

    Both of those combine tomatoes with fruit, but you can also make a pure fruit salsa with no tomatoes.

    Peach salsa is the best-selling fruit salsa flavor in the U.S., beating mango and pineapple. While most bottled peach salsa is tomato-based salsa roja, you can make fresh peach salsa without tomatoes. Wait for peach season, though; then combine 2 cups peeled, finely diced peaches, 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion, 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper, 1 de-seeded and finely chopped jalapeño, juice of 1 lime, 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or basil leaves and 1 clove minced garlic. Add salt to taste.

    Mango pineapple salsa is also easy to whip up. Combine 1 diced mango and 2 cups of diced pineapple with ½ medium onion, diced; ½ cup cilantro, diced; the juice of one lime, and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add minced jalapeño for heat.

    Cherry salsa goes nicely with chicken or fish. You can use fresh cherries in season, but frozen cherries work fine. Here’s a salmon recipe with cherry mango salsa.

    And when watermelon season returns, how about a watermelon, corn and black bean salsa?

     

    Grilled fish with a savory salsa. Photo from the cookbook, South American Grill, courtesy Rizzoli USA.

     

    SAVORY SALSA

    We prefer a largely savory salsa with grilled fish, sometimes with diced fruit—mango, peach or pineapple tossed in for balance, but never, ever with added sugar.

    While you can use salsa from a jar, making your own is easy and you can customize it with your favorite ingredients. You can also create your preferred texture, from chunky hand-diced to puréed in the blender.

    The possible combinations are [almost] endless”

    POSSIBLE SALSA INGREDIENTS

  • Tomatoes: in the off season, use cherry tomatoes
  • Fruit: grape, mango, melon, peach, pineapple or other fruit
  • Onions: green onion, red onion, sweet onion
  • Herbs: basil, cilantro, parsley
  • Acid: wine vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice
  • Heat: jalapeño or other fresh chile
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic
  • Enhancements: black beans, capers, corn kernels, gherkins, olives
  •  

    HOMEMADE SALSA RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 3 pounds tomatoes, diced and seeded
  • Optional: 1/2 pound diced fruit
  • 1/2 small red onion (more to taste), small dice
  • 2 or 3 small jalapeño chiles
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 of a lemon or lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup or more cilantro (if you don’t like cilantro, substitute parsley)
  • 2 splashes of red wine vinegar (about a 1/2 teaspoon)
     
    Preparation

    1. REMOVE the stems from the cilantro. Remove the white membrane and seeds from the jalapeños and mince the flesh.

    2. COMBINE the tomatoes, fruit, onions, jalapeño and garlic. Add the seasonings (vinegar, citrus juice, salt, pepper, cilantro) and toss to thoroughly combine. Allow flavors to blend for a half hour or more (overnight is fine); then taste and adjust seasonings. You may want more vinegar, more jalapeño, etc.

    3. Pulse until desired consistency.
     
    This is making us hungry. Guess what we’re having for lunch!

      

  • Comments

    PRODUCT: Maille Dijon Mustard With Balsamic Vinegar Of Modena

    maille-balsamic-mustard-kaminsky-230

    Two favorite flavors together: Dijon mustard
    and balsamic vinegar. Photo by Hannah
    Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Often, the nicest gift you can bring to a party or dinner hosted by a foodie is something knew he or she probably hasn’t tried.

    We nominate Maille’s new Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Together, the two classic flavors create a flavorful yet mellow blend that’s not quite as sharp as classic Dijon mustard. At 10 calories per teaspoon, it’s low in calories and high on flavor.

    We love basic Dijon mustard, but it’s that much special—similar to Edmond Fallot Gingerbread Mustard we wrote about recently.

    As you might imagine, there are countless ways you can use fine mustard to enhance almost anything on your plate.

    The product, which is a medium brown color as opposed to conventional yellow Dijon, just arrived in the U.S. Until recently, it has only been available at Maille’s European boutiques in Dijon, Paris and London.

    Get yours online at MyBrands.com for $9.89 per jar (7.9 oz/225g).

     

    SERVING SUGGESTIONS

  • As a condiment and with cheeses, cold cuts, pâtes, roasted meats and vegetables.
  • As a sandwich spread.
  • In vinaigrettes and dips.
  • In glazes and marinades.
  • In a sauce: Use it with wine to deglaze meat near the end of cooking to create a mouthwatering sauce. Here’s how.
  • As a seasoning in turkey stuffing, chicken and pork dishes, macaroni, potato salad (tuna, chicken, egg, etc.).
  •  
    You can find lots of recipes on Maille.us. Although we haven’t tried it, there’s a recipe for carrot cake that uses Dijon mustard!

     

    RECIPE: BALSAMIC MUSTARD & CRANBERRY SAUCE

    Combine the sweetness of balsamic with the balance of mustard in this new twist on homemade cranberry sauce. The cranberry sauce can be made up to five days in advance.

    Ingredients

  • 2 bags (8 ounces each) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup Maille Honey Dijon Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
  • 1/2 cup water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat to a simmer.

    2. REDUCE the heat to low and stir occasionally until the cranberries have broken down and the mixture is thick and sauce-like, about 20-25 minutes.

    3. REMOVE from the heat and cool completely before serving.

     

    cranberry-sauce-w-balsamic-mustard-maille-230

    Cranberry sauce with balsamic Dijon mustard. Photo courtesy Maille.

     

    FOOD TRIVIA

    The Romans were probably the first to experiment with the preparation of mustard as a condiment. They mixed unfermented grape juice, known as must, with ground mustard seeds (called sinapis) to make burning must, mustum ardens in Latin. Hence, the name must ard.

     
    ABOUT MAILLE

    Founded in 1747 by Antoine Maille in Dijon, France, La Maison Maille stepped into history when the refined recipes first caught the attention of King Louis XV of France, becoming his official supplier of vinegar and mustard. Soon other European Royal Courts, including those of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Hungary, followed suit and granted Maille this significant honor.

    Maille is the leading producer of premium mustard, vinegar and cornichons in France and the number one brand of imported mustard in the U.S. Maille Honey Balsamic joins the brand’s U.S. imports, which include Dijon Originale, Old-Style (À La Ancienne), Honey Dijon, Horseradish and Rich Country mustards, plus Dijonnaise and Cornichons.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fig Jam, Fig Chutney & More Figgy Condiments

    Figs are hot and dry weather fruit—famously enjoyed for millennia in the Middle East, where it’s hot year-round.

    In the U.S., figs grow in zones 8-10 (most of our figs are grown in California. They have two seasons: a shorter season in early summer and a second, main crop that starts in late summer and runs through fall.

    Fig trees cannot withstand temperatures much below 20°F, and so are not grown in most of the Midwest and in the Northeast.

    dalmatia-fig-spread-thekitchn-230

    Dalmatia Fig Spread. Photo courtesy
    TheKitchn.com. Here’s their review.

     

    So depending on your residence, you won’t find fresh figs; but you can console yourself with a jar of fig jam or chutney.

    Beyond spreading it on toast, here’s what you can do with it, courtesy of FrenchFarm.com,

  • Use it as a glaze for meats, especially duck and pork.
  • Mix it in with pan juices to make a sauce.
  • Add it to a red wine vinaigrette to make a spectacular salad dressing.
  • Pair it with cheese—our favorites being blue cheese , goat cheese, bleu or camembert on crostini.
  • Use it as the center of humbprint cookies.
  • Spoon it over cheesecake.
  • Add it to cheese and charcuterie plates.
  • Garnish a flatbread pizza made with prosciutto, Gorgonzola cheese and arugula.
  • Use it as a topping for ice cream.
  •  

    You can find Dalmatia Fig Spread (photo above)at many supermarkets, and other fig jams and chutneys at most specialty stores. But The French Farm has the biggest selection of fig condiments we’ve seen, any of which would make a lovely small gift or stocking stuffer for a foodie. The choices include:

     

  • Black Fig Jam (from L’Epicurien), to spread on toast, pastries, waffles, or to enjoy with cheese.
  • Confit of Figs & Black Olives (L’Epicurien), a spread of sweet white figs and savory black olives that can dress up just about anything. Pair with cheese or use as a sandwich spread.
  • Fig & Balsamic Vinegar Confit (L’Epicurien), delicious on a sandwich or on a cracker with goat cheese, or as a condiment with foie gras.
  • Fig & Grape Jam (from L’Epicurien), a delightful balance of juicy grape and earthy fig, spread some on toast or breakfast pastries.
  • Fig & Walnut Confit (from L’Epicurien) is perfect with goat cheese or on a slice of toasted baguette.
  • White Fig Jam (from L’Epicurien), more delicate than the black fig jam, is delicious on top of a slice of toasted baguette, with a slice of Cheddar on a crostini, or on a breakfast pastry.
  •  
    But fig condiments don’t stop at jam. Check out the other options:

     

    fig-mustard-frenchfarm-230

    Mustard with fig. Photo courtesy The French Farm.

     

  • Fig Mustard (from L’Epicurien), can be paired with cured meats, ham, roasted or smoked turkey, cheddar cheese, roast pork or a grilled cheese sandwich.
  • Grape Must Vinegar with Fig (from Il Boschetto) is freshly pressed grape juice that contains the skins, seeds and stems. The mixture is simmered with the addition of vinegar made from Tuscan red wine, into a rich balsamic-like syrup that is stunning over fish, fresh salads, and desserts.
  • Red Wine Vinegar With Fig (from Edmond Fallot), great for salad dressing, marinades, or sauces. Try it on a goat cheese-stuffed chicken breast with braised greens.
  • Spiced Fig Chutney (from L’Epicurien), both sweet and savory and perfect for a cheese board, charcuterie plate or a chicken or turkey sandwich.
  •  
    A BRIEF HISTORY OF FIGS

    The edible fig was one of the first plants to be cultivated by humans. Fossils dating to about 9400–9200 B.C.E. in the Jordan Valley predate the domestication of barley, legumes, rye and wheat, and may thus be the first known instance of agriculture. Some botany historians propose that the figs may have been cultivated one thousand years before the next crops (wheat and rye) were domesticated.

    Much later in time, figs were a common food source for the Romans. Cato the Elder, in his De Agri Cultura, lists several strains of figs: the Mariscan, African, Herculanean, Saguntine and the black Tellanian. In addition to human consumption, figs were used, among other things, to fatten geese for the production of a precursor of foie gras.

    In ancient times, figs were cultivated from Afghanistan to Portugal to India. From the 15th century onwards, they spread to Europe and later, to the New World. [Source]

      

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