America's Favorite Homemade Sauces ... with a Twist
Click through the slideshow to discover America's favorite homemade sauces with a twist.
Ah, good old ketchup — or is that "catsup"? Perhaps, written on some old vintage bottle somewhere, you've even glimpsed "catchup." And this sauce wasn't always a simple concoction of tomatoes, vinegar, and proprietary seasonings (chemicals?)... early versions apparently included mushrooms, onions, lemons, and anchovies (!).
Credit: Robert Rabine
Ketchup's necessary counterpart (or evil nemesis, depending on whom you ask) pretty much has de facto condiment status on corn dogs, corned beef sandwiches, and hot dogs. It's also worked into salad dressings, like the ever-popular, sweet and tangy honey mustard. Go ahead, slather it on, just not on yourself, or your clothes will be yellow as a canary for good — good old American yellow mustard contains turmeric, a spice notorious for its fabric-staining powers.
3. Barbecue Sauce
So much could be said about barbecue sauce and its many iterations, but instead, here's a useful tidbit. Jackie Garvin, author of the blog Syrup and Biscuits, offers this economical tip on using up leftover condiments: "Frequently, I find several partial jars of condiments such as salsa, mustard, jellies/jams, and relishes. You can combine them all, pure for a smooth consistency, and then simmer until thick. Add honey, sugar, or maple syrup for sweetness.
Credit: Tim Byres
OK, everyone knows what mayo is, so let's cut to the interesting stuff that people might not know about. Another interesting but useless tidbit: I once heard on a now-defunct show on Nickelodeon that mayonnaise grows hair in the sun. True? Who knows. Grab a jar of expired mayo and give it a shot.
Credit: Molly Aronica
Mayo's fancy-schmancy cousin for the food snobs out there. Actually, it's really just homemade mayo with a touch (OK, a strong touch) of raw garlic, and in some versions, saffron (although that is probably a bit of an extravagance these days). Slather it on a sandwich and from-the-jar mayo will never again be enough. Kewpie and Hellmann's diehards, eat your hearts out.
6. Tartar Sauce
Shrimp cocktails, fried oysters, and fish and chips just wouldn't seem complete without a little tartar sauce on the side. But what exactly is in it? It's always there, sitting off to the side of a seafood platter, but most people probably just dip in absent-mindedly without a second thought, so it probably hasn't occurred many people to find out what's in it.
Credit: Maryse Chevriere
This is a compound sauce — take slide two, mustard, and add to it slide four, mayo. Drop in some chopped tarragon or parsley, capers, and maybe some anchovies, gherkins (pickles), and a shot of Tabasco.
8. Tomato Sauce
It's the foundation of pastas and pizzas, meatball subs and calzones. Italian cuisine has become so intertwined with our food culture that many Italian favorites have long been American favorites as well, and tomato sauce is definitely one of them. But a good tomato sauce can be hard to find — sure, there are always the jar versions, which can be jazzed up with a base of freshly sautéed onion, garlic, and chopped fresh herbs, but nothing beats homemade.
Credit: Terri Ciccone
9. Hollandaise Sauce
People probably think one of two things when they see the words "hollandaise sauce." If it's on a menu, they're thinking brunch; if it's on a recipe, they're thinking "broken!" A broken hollandaise sauce might seem like the end of the world, but fixing it is not really any different from fixing a mayo, another emulsified sauce (a fancy way of saying, "Hey, there are eggs in this and they are doing all the work! Sometimes.")
Credit: Alberto Peroli
10. Chocolate Sauce
It just wouldn’t be right to leave out dessert. Whether drizzled on a sundae or a slice of chocolate cake (mmm, more chocolate on chocolate), or stirred into a chocolate malt, chocolate sauce is a classic. Reaching for that bottle of Hershey's is a piece of cake, but it's also nice to have something from scratch once in a while.
11. Alabama White Sauce
This is Alabama's answer to comeback sauce. Not up on the debate? Mississippians will likely say there is no debate, since they ended it — it's called comeback sauce for a reason — but hey, food's supposed to be about love. Alabama white sauce is a barbecue sauce that is a little off the beaten path — it uses mayo as its base. A little lemon juice and cider vinegar give it some acidity, and some jalapeño and horseradish give it a kick and pungency.
Credit: Arthur Bovino
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Where would our hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and barbecue be without the greats? We're talking about sauce here, folks — from the basics like ketchup, mustard, and barbecue sauce to some of the things that might not immediately come to mind, say, tartar sauce, but would definitely be missed the next time a shrimp cocktail is passed around. Where would our great nation be without them? We'd be munching on some pretty dry critters, that's where we'd be, and that, my friends, would be a mighty sad situation.
So once again, The Daily Meal comes to the rescue. Sure, the obvious thing to do would be just to round up homemade versions of every single sauce to ever grace a ballpark, cocktail table, and peanut-shells-on-the-floor joint out there and call it a day, but that would be too easy. Because sometimes, it's nice to have something a little different — not so different that the very identity of the thing is lost, but just different enough to wake things up a bit. So we've rounded up some new twists on old favorites, as well as some recipes that make good use of these hallmarks of American cuisine, but with a little extra oomph.