Five Condiments to Keep on Hand (No, Not Ketchup) | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Five Condiments to Keep on Hand (No, Not Ketchup)

Walk down the aisles of your local giantsupermegamarket and you'll see enough prepared sauces, marinades, rubs, spice blends, and assorted condiments to stack all the way to Pluto. Go online and their number increases to infinity and then some. 

Most of them are crap. Except for the ones that are shit. And all of them are stupid expensive. 

But a few -- a really, really few -- are actually pretty handy, offering a winning combination of convenience, modest culinary excitement, and flavor. And most don't cost a whole lot either. In no particular order, five excellent examples are: 

Sriracha: Despite its ubiquity in Asian restaurants across the

country, this bright-red sauce in the green-capped bottle was actually

developed in the early 1980s in California by Vietnamese immigrant David

Tran. While it's great as an all-purpose hot sauce, it also adds a

garlicky zing to everything from scrambled eggs to marinades to aioli,

and a bottle goes a very long way. 

La Rusticella White Truffle Pâté:

Selling for as much as $6,000 a pound, almost equal to the price of a

pound of cocaine, fresh white truffles are an insane luxury item. But

this blend of champignon mushrooms, truffles, and other stuff delivers

enough of truffles' earthy, exotic, irresistible flavor and aroma to

make you forget you're saving approximately $5,975.  

Robert Rothschild Farm Horseradish Tartar Sauce:

As someone who loves fish, sandwiches, and leftovers, this kicky bottled

tartar sauce makes putting all three together a breeze. Sure, it's easy

to make your own, but if you don't have the time or just don't fucking

well feel like it, you could do a whole lot worse. If you don't believe

me, pick up another brand at your local giantmegasupermarket. 

NapaStyle Fennel Spice Rub:

If you've ever eaten Michael Chiarello's food, you know that despite

his rather stiff TV persona, he's a prodigiously talented chef. Essential

to any TV chef's image is a product line, of which this powdery mélange

of fennel seed, gray salt, coriander, and white pepper is da bomb. Meat,

chicken, fish vegetables... there's almost nothing it doesn't


Tea & Spice Exchange Tuscany Blend: I

never expected to like this stuff, looking as it does like a packet of

generic "Italian" seasoning. But it was cheap, and the nice woman at the

shop said it was really good, so I figured, what the hell. Finally, I got

around to sprinkling it on a piece of chicken -- damn! -- she was right. It

takes as naturally to poultry as feathers, and it's great in

vinaigrettes, marinades, and dips too.

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Bill Citara

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