Friday, October 16, 2009

More Homemade Condiments: Worcestershire Sauce

I don't think homemade Worcestershire sauce would have occurred to me any more often than making my own ketchup would... but Amanda Hesser at the New York Times describes the history of Worcestershire sauce while providing a modern reinterpretation for the home cook (by Boston chef Barbara Lynch):
One group of cooks blended Scotch and Cynar (an Italian artichoke liqueur) as the foundation of a condiment; another made a condiment of roasted garlic, shallots, juniper, allspice, mustard, soy and sherry vinegar that was big on texture but not quite right.

The winner was a sauce that combined elements of Lynch’s modern tomato syrup — vinegar and chili powder — with elements of old-school Worcestershire: fish sauce and umami. You caramelize shallots in some oil before adding the tomatoes, fish sauce, vinegar, chili powder and spices, then you let the mixture sit — until it cools, not a few years — before swirling in some honey. In the sauce, which Lynch calls Worcestershire, you get sweetness, heat, acidity and a whopping double dose of umami. I think she should bottle it.

What's kind of fun is that they have both the original 1876 recipe as well as Lynch's new one for comparison purposes. I don't think I'll be making my own Worcestershire sauce anytime soon, but I still think it's a pretty cool idea.