For the next few blog posts I am going to focus on several sauces and condiments that could change your life...well maybe not your life, but certainly yours, your friend's and family's dining experience.. Having a couple of these condiments on hand will be all you need to gussy-up a dinner party, make the best breakfast sandwiches on the planet and/or turn a simple serving of fish or vegetables into something special. What's more, the recipes I am focusing on today will store for a long time in your fridge or freezer and taste as good as the day they were made.
Fennel-Flavored Mustard Sauce
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tbsp. sugar (I think 1 is enough)
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/3 cup fruity olive oil (that means really good olive oil)
Grind the fennel to a powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Combine this with all the remaining ingredients except oil. Stir well. Add oil in a stream whisking all the while. The recipe makes 3/4 of a cup. It will store in the fridge for many weeks. I serve this sauce on shrimp or crab cakes instead of a mayo based sauce. It is fabulous.
Sweet and Savory Bacon Jam, makes 3 or so cups
2.5 lbs. of thick-cut bacon, cut into 3/4 " pieces
3 large red onions, peeled and chopped
2 lg. shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 pure maple syrup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup bourbon
salt and pepper to taste
Set a large dutch oven over med-hi heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown and crisp- 15 to 20 minutes. Keep all the bacon fat in the pan. Do not discard. (This may sound gross or over the top, but each serving is only about 1 to 2 tbsp so you will not be consuming tons of fat.)
Lower the heat to medium. Stir in the onions and shallots and cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook until the jam has a glossy appearance and/or has a nice thick and chunky consistency. It should not cook down to a paste.
Transfer to an airtight container. I used 1 pint jars. You can keep one jar/container in the fridge for up to a month. Put the others in the freezer and pull them out when you know you are having company or your kids are coming home. My kids wanted this on a breakfast sandwich each of the 5 mornings they were here over Thanksgiving. It is great on a baked potato or on a slice of toasted baguette for an appetizer. Throw on some goat cheese with it and you will be all set.