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Yep. Walnut ketchup. Ketchup used to be a lot more varied than just tomatoes. This is a classic British recipe made with young, green walnuts – black walnuts, here – results in a sauce that tastes astonishingly like A1 steak sauce. Give it a go!
Wild onions, ramps especially, make a great pesto. This is my version, which is pretty classic — but you can play with pesto a lot, changing the nuts, cheese and herbs at will.
When life gives you arugula — a wild version grows like a weed in my yard — you make arugula pesto. A peppery, bracing pesto that matches really well with homemade pasta.
This is an Italian classic, sugo d’anatra, or duck ragu. It’s a meaty pasta sauce that uses slow-cooked duck legs or wings for the meat, and is damn good with any pasta or polenta, but especially good with pumpkin-ricotta gnocchi.
A few years ago I traveled to Louisiana and learned from the McIlhenny family themselves how to make Tabasco Sauce. Now, two years later, I can finally tell you how to make it. It’s easy, but like fine wine, it takes time.
Sorrel sauce. It’s so basic, yet so profoundly useful… and awesome. Sorrel tastes like lemonade in a leaf, and both wild and cultivated varieties grow like weeds in any garden. This rich, tart sauce is perfect with pasta, poached fish or poultry, or any other lightly cooked meat.
I’ve been trying to catch a Pacific halibut all summer, so far without success. But on a recent trip to Oregon, my fishing buddy Todd did catch one, and was nice enough to give me a piece of “mercy halibut.” Here’s that ‘but, brined with saffron and served with an Italian salsa verde.
Seared pheasant breast with a refined parsley sauce I learned from the French Laundry’s cookbook. It’s an elegant way to sex up a simple seared piece of pheasant.