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Sauces and Condiments

The word "Sauces" is cursory, because sauces cover an awful lot of territory: Sauces to go with fish or meats, sauces for veggies, sauces to go into things, flavored vinegars, and more. Condiments, in short.

Anchovy Sauce -- Salsa alle Acciughe
Anchovy Sauce, or Salsa alle Acciughe: This will do an excellent job of perking up bland foods, and also do a nice job balancing fattier foods, for example boiled meats or fish.

Anchovy Sauce For Boiled Vegetables, Salsa D'Acciughe
Mixed boiled vegetables are a common summer side dish -- you prepare them the night before, chill them well in the refrigerator, and they are extremely refreshing on the next day. Anchovies and mayonnaise do very well in complementing mixed boiled vegetables.

Bagna Caoda
Bagna Caoda (literally "hot sauce") arises from the interaction between land and sea, with the anchovies and olive oil brought overland by the Ligurian traders combining delightfully with the garlic grown in Piemonte, and is the symbol of joyful conviviality around which friends gather to renew the bonds that tie, serving the sauce in a bowl,...

Bagnèt Vert -- Green Sauce
There's not getting around it; the meat that's used to make broth is fairly bland when it's cooked. This isn't the problem you might think, because it's a perfect foil for tasty sauces, including Piemonte's Bagnèt Vert. If you boil up some vegetables (carrots, potatoes, leeks, and turnips, for example) while the stock pot bubbles, and serve everything with a zesty red wine and freshly baked bread, you'll have a wonderful, simple meal.

Basil Vinegar -- Aceto al Basilico
Basil Vinegar, or Aceto al Basilico: This is a tasty vinegar for dressing a salad, and will also work well with boiled vegetables, grilled meats, and fish.

Bell Pepper Sauce -- Salsa di Peperoni
Here's a bell pepper sauce that's supposed to go with boiled meats, but will also work well with boiled vegetables and poached fish, especially baccalà. The recipe is one of those I didn't include in my translation of Pellegrino Artusi's La Scienza in Cucina for want of space.

Bell Pepper Sauce: Salsa di Peperoni
A zesty bell pepper sauce for meats, vegetables, and fish.

Canned Hot Pepper Recipe - Peperoncini Sott'Olio
Hot peppers packed in oil are a wonderful way to jazz up bland foods, including the boiled meats that are a byproduct of making broth in the winter. They're also excellent for adding zest to picnic foods, especially frise, and also yield hot oil, which can be rather nice.

Casino Sauce
Chef Ardo's tasty seasoned butter, the perfect accompaniment for clams and all sorts of other things.

Cavalcanti's Sweet and Sour Sauce
The great Neapolitan gastronome's accompaniment for fried foods and hard boiled eggs, with a recipe for fried string beans too.

Currant Sauce -- Salsa di Ribes
Currant Sauce, or Salsa di Ribes: This is a good sauce for boiled, roasted, or grilled meats, and, if sealed in a jar, will also keep nicely for several months in a cool dark place. If you don't have red currants you can use black currants, blueberries, or even gooseberries.

Egg Sauce: Salsa D'Uovo
A zesty egg sauce is the perfect foil for many vegetables (here it contrasts fennel).

Fig and Grape Mustard -- Mostarda di Uva e Fichi
Mostarda di Uva e Fichi -- Fig and Grape Mustard -- Mostarda di Uva e Fichi -- Fig and Grape Mustard

Gardesana Sauce for Fish Filets
Salsa alla gardesana is a simple sauce for white fish, made with capers and either tomatoes or anchovy filets. It adds considerable zest to a mild-flavored fish, and will have you looking for either crusty bread or polenta with which to enjoy the drippings.

Garlic and Hot Pepper Vinegar -- Aceto all'Aglio e Peperoncino
Garlic and Hot Pepper Vinegar, or Aceto all'Aglio e Peperoncino: This is excellent for seasoning salads, and also works quite nicely as a seasoning for cold meats, for example thinly sliced roast pork loin on a hot summer day.

Garlic Sauce -- Agliata
Garlic Sauce, or Agliata: Agliata is a garlic sauce that dates to the middle ages, and is simplicity in itself.

Garlic Vinegar -- Aceto all'Aglio
Garlic Vinegar, or Aceto all'Aglio: This will work quite well as a seasoning for green salads or boiled vegetables, especially potatoes.

Gorgonzola Cream: Gorgonzola in Crema
A delicate, creamy Gorgonzola dip that could also be a nice option for seasoning meats.

Green Peppercorn Steak Sauce, Burro Al Pepe Verde
Cooking is swept by fads (I remember Swedish meatballs when I was a kid), and in the mid-late 80s green peppercorn sauce became a popular accompaniment to steaks in Italy. Since then the craze has faded, and I for one rather miss it, because a good green peppercorn sauce is very nice over grilled red meats. This one is quite simple.

Green Sauce -- Salsa Verde
Salsa verde, green sauce, is one of those ubiquitous sauces you never really think about, but would have to invent if it didn't exist. It adds wonderful zest to boiled dishes, especially fish, but also boiled beef and even boiled potatoes. It also figures prominently in a number of dishes, including bollito misto alla piemontese (piemontese-style boiled dinner) and caponata di pesce (fish salad).

Honey Sauce -- Saosa 'd Avije
There's not getting around it; the meat that's used to make broth is fairly bland when it's cooked. This isn't the problem you might think, because it's a perfect foil for tasty sauces, including Piemonte's Saosa 'd Avije, a honey sauce. If you boil up some vegetables (carrots, potatoes, leeks, and turnips, for example) while the stock pot bubbles, and serve everything with a zesty red wine and freshly baked bread, you'll have a wonderful, simple meal.

Horseradish and Vinegar Sauce -- Salsa di Rafano All'Aceto
Salsa di Rafano All'Aceto -- Horseradish and Vinegar Sauce -- Salsa di Rafano All'Aceto -- Horseradish and Vinegar Sauce

How to Make Mostarda -- An Illustrated Recipe
Though the Italian Mostarda does contain mustard, it's only distantly related to the yellow stuff in the squeeze bottle. Rather, it's fruit preserved in syrup that gains quite a kick from a healthy jolt of powdered mustard seed or essence, and is one of the standard condiments served with boiled meats in northern Italy. It's easy to make at home, and also makes an excellent gift.

Italian Pickled Hot Pepper Recipe - Peperoncini Sotto Aceto
Pickled hot peppers are extremely versatile: if you've a strong stomach they can be a nice snack, they're a wonderful addition to a mixed antipasto, and they also are excellent at jazzing up bland foods, especially the boiled meats that are a byproduct of making broth. It's easy to pickle hot peppers at home, and if you do you can make them just the way you want, with none of the additions commercial producers make.

Italian Seasonings
I was recently asked for an Italian Seasonings recipe. Since I live in Italy, where there is no such thing -- people from one region would object loudly if those from another tried to define a universal Italian seasoning mix, I asked people to contribute their recipes, and here we are: Italian seasonings.

Maitre d'Hotel Sauce -- Salsa alla Maitre d'Hotel
Artusi's omterpretation of a classic French steak sauce.

Marinara Sauce
A classic tomato sauce, with some excellent variations.

Mayonnaise -- Maionese
People generally associate mayonnaise with the French, but it's popular in Italy too.

Mint Sauce -- Salsa di Menta
Mint Sauce, or Salsa di Menta: The classic mint sauce for rich meat dishes, for example leg of lamb.

Mostarda
A traditional hot and spicy condiment made with fruit and mustard seed or oil -- background and several recipes.

Mostarda Dalmata: With Quinces and Honey
Mostarda, fruit in syrup that gains a healthy zing from mustard seed, is common throughout northern Italy, and likely goes a long way back. This particular recipe is Dalmatian, and makes use of honey and quinces.

Mostarda di Carpi
Mostarda di Carpi: There are many kinds of mostarda. This is made with grape must, and an abundance of fruit.

Mostarda di Cremona
Mostarda di Cremona: This is what most Italians think of when they hear the word mostarda. It's voluptuous, and though something of an acquired taste (like fine whisky, for that matter), can be addictive. Since the fruit is not finely sliced, you should select pieces that look perfect.

Mostarda Mantovana
Mostarda Mantovana: There are many kinds of mostarda. This is made with fruit simmered in syrup, and is excellent with boiled meats, or even cheeses.

Mushroom Sauce
If you buy fresh porcini that aren't too large, you can fry them, or you can make Sugo ai Funghi, mushroom sauce.

Mustard Steak Sauce, Burro Alla Senape
Italians don't use much mustard, but it does occasionally appear, and will be a pleasant complement to a steak in this steak sauce.

Neapolitan Tomato Sauce
A quick, tasty, simple tomato sauce perfect for summer or pizza.

On Mostarda
Mostarda is a classic North Italian fruit condiment that gains a healthy kick from powdered mustard or mustard essence. It's wonderful with boiled meats, or cheeses, and is quite easy to make. It's also an excellent gift.

Onion Sauce -- Salsa di Cipolle
Onion Sauce, or Salsa di Cipolle: This is from Trentino Alto Adige, and will perk up boiled meats or starchy vegetables along the lines of potatoes.

Pearà -- Veronese Pepper Sauce for Boiled Meats
Pearà, Veronese Pepper Sauce for Boiled Meats: You may be wondering, "What does one eat with an Amarone?" One classic reply is bollito misto, the boiled dinner that's common to all of Northern Italy; here's the Piemontese version, which was a favorite with Crown Price Vittorio Emanuele a century ago. What's done in the Veneto is similar, though the sauce of choice is a peppery exotic called pearà, which is made with crumbled bread, bone marrow and ground pepper (hence the name).

Raspberry Vinegar -- Aceto ai Lamponi
Raspberry Vinegar, or Aceto ai Lamponi: This will work nicely with salads, and will also be nice nebulized over fruit, for example strawberries.

Red Sauce -- Bagnèt Ross
There's not getting around it; the meat that's used to make broth is fairly bland when it's cooked. This isn't the problem you might think, because it's a perfect foil for tasty sauces, including Piemonte's Bagnèt Ross. If you boil up some vegetables (carrots, potatoes, leeks, and turnips, for example) while the stock pot bubbles, and serve everything with a zesty red wine and freshly baked bread, you'll have a wonderful, simple meal.

Salmoriglio Sauce - Salsa al Salmorilgio
This is a south Italian sauce for grilled meats; the word salmoriglio derives from the Sicilian salmurigghiu, which means a light brine, and there is, indeed, some salt in it, though the primary ingredient is lemon juice. You use the sauce to flavor any sort of grilled meat or fish, from chops (lamb, pork, or steak) through elegant fish, including salmon or swordfish. In short, it's versatile.

Salsa alla Diavola
Mel Myers was looking for a Fradiavolo sauce. A search through several cookbooks failed to turn it up, but I did find salsa alla diavola, which is likely related -- as a group, sauces with devils in them tend to be spicy and hot, like their abode.

Salsa Aïoli
Salsa Aïoli is a garlicky mayonnaise, and I occasionally get requests for it, perhaps because the name sounds Italian. It's not, however, but rather French, and to be more precise from Provence. What to do with it? Do as the French do (and Italians, especially those living close to the French border, which used to be much further west than it is now), and enjoy it with boiled fish, meats, and vegetables, including blander fare such as potatoes. Or with grilled meats and vegetables.

Salsa Triestina
An unusual, lemony cheese sauce for meats or vegetables, from my review of La Terra Fortunata.

Smoked Salmon Butter Recipe - Burro al Salmone
You can do more with smoked salmon than make pasta sauce: It's perfect for making flavored butter, which you could spread on slices of toast (perhaps with a little smoked salmon on top) as an antipasto, or add a dab of to other fish dishes (or even boiled potatoes) for a burst of salmony aroma.

Spicy Sauce: Salsa Piccante
A zesty bell pepper, caper and olive sauce that will also work well with baccalà or other mildly flavored fish.

Spicy Vinegar -- Aceto Piccante
Spicy Vinegar, or Aceto Piccante: This will work nicely with boiled potatoes or salad greens, with poached fish, and adds a nice personal touch to spicy sauces in general.

The Good Wife's Boiled Meat Sauce -- Intingolo di Lesso alla Buona Moglie
The Good Wife's Boiled Meat Sauce, or Intingolo di Lesso alla Buona Moglie: Those of you who have been subscribed to Cosa Bolle for a while will recall that La Cucina Italiana celebrated its 70th birthday last year by reprinting the first issue (in tabloid rather than magazine format). At the time I commented upon the articles. There are recipes...

The Poor Man's Sauce -- Salsa del Pòvr'òm
There's not getting around it; the meat that's used to make broth is fairly bland when it's cooked. This isn't the problem you might think, because it's a perfect foil for tasty sauces, including Piemonte's Salsa del pòvr'òm (The Poor Man's Sauce). If you boil up some vegetables (carrots, potatoes, leeks, and turnips, for example) while the stock pot bubbles, and serve everything with a zesty red wine and freshly baked bread, you'll have a wonderful, simple meal.

Truffle Sauce -- Salsa Tartufata
Truffle sauce is a delightfully decadent way to spice up a roast or pan-sauteed chops.

Vinegar with Aromatic Herbs -- Aceto alle Erbe Aromatiche
Vinegar with Aromatic Herbs, or Aceto alle Erbe Aromatiche: This is a strongly flavored version that will work nicely (in moderation) with salads or boiled vegetables, and will also find many uses in the kitchen. Though the recipe gives amounts by weight, feel free to trust your instinct.

Vinegar with Herbs and Scallions -- Aceto alle Erbe e Scalogno
Vinegar with Herbs and Scallions, or Aceto alle Erbe e Scalogno: This vinegar will work nicely in salads or sprayed over grilled meats; go easy, because it's strongly flavored.

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