Sauce expert Susan Volland traded in her professional kitchen whites when she realized that home cooking was her true passion. Ever since then, Volland has made a name for herself writing, developing and testing recipes, and editing books like Nathan Myhrvold’s “Modernist Cuisine” series and many other projects.
With more than 150 recipes, “Mastering Sauces: The Home Cook’s Guide to New Techniques for Fresh Flavors” is a guide for beginning and experienced sauciers alike. The cookbook’s got recipes for the basics and the classics. Volland says any sauce can be customized to suit your taste through following three fundamental principles: “maximize flavor, manipulate texture and season confidently.”
Volland likes to pair her “Chinese Crackling Chili Sauce” with any number of dishes from fish and grilled steaks to roasted potatoes, greens and rice. The chili sauce is best prepared in a hot wok or cast iron skillet to ensure the flavors of your fresh garlic, chili peppers and scallions fully infuse the sizzling hot oil.
Chinese Crackling Scallion & Garlic Sauce
Be sure to have all of your ingredients prepped before you start, because this simple sauce is extremely quick to prepare and is best served immediately.
Yield: Makes about 1 cup
¼ cup peanut oil
2–3 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
¼ tsp red chile flakes
3–4 scallion greens, thickly sliced (about ¾ cup, loosely packed)
½ tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat a wok or a cast iron skillet over high heat. When heat waves can be seen rising from the pan, swirl the peanut oil into the pan.
Add the garlic and chile flakes and sizzle to infuse their flavor into the oil, about 15 seconds. (If the garlic burns, discard everything and start over.)
Next, add the scallions and quickly stir to mix. They should sizzle and crackle in the oil. Season sauce generously with salt and pepper
To serve: Immediately pour sauce over preferred dish and serve.