Saucy Secrets

Every day, another top chef throws his toque into the prepared-foods market. The shelves at upscale grocers like Citarella and Balducci’s are groaning with name-brand marinades, barbecue sauces, and spice rubs, each promising five-star flavor in a jar. Of course, if you’re using a bottled sauce to begin with, you’re probably pressed for time and creativity. So we asked four local chefs to offer up some simple, time-sensitive recipes that put their sauces to work. Jean-Georges Vongerichten creates a spicy chicken dish using his peanut sauce from Vong; Mark Strausman’s Tuscan-inspired cacciucco, a piquant fish stew, is cooked in Campagna’s garlicky tomato sauce; Bobby Flay’s spice-rubbed pork tenderloin with a horseradish-maple glaze is served with his signature ancho-chili southwestern potato salad, just as at Mesa Grill; and Aureole’s Charlie Palmer dishes out chili-and-ginger-glazed baby vegetables over soba noodles. Each recipe serves four, and none takes longer than half an hour to prepare, which ought to make these sauces summer staples: the first line of defense when unexpected weekend guests strike.

The Recipes
All recipes serve four.

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin With
Horseradish-Maple Glaze and Southwestern Potato Salad


3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

2 pork tenderloins (about 3/4 pound each)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup Bobby Flay’s Dry Rub for Steak & Ribs

1/2 cup Bobby Flay’s Horseradish Maple Glaze

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof grill pan until it’s smoking. Season the tenderloins with salt and pepper, and coat with the spice rub. Place the tenderloins on the grill pan, and cook for 3 minutes on one side until they’re golden brown. Brush with some of the maple glaze, turn the tenderloins over, brush with more of the glaze, and continue cooking for 3 minutes. Place the pan in the oven for about 8 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 150 degrees. Remove to a plate, brush with the remaining glaze, and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Southwestern Potato Salad

1 cup Bobby Flay’s Ancho Chili Mayonnaise

1 medium tomato, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2 jalapeño chili, finely diced

2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 small garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

16 new potatoes (about 2 pounds), boiled, drained, and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

Using a spatula, combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour mixture over the warm potatoes and stir to coat.

(Sauces available at ABC Home, Citarella, Garden of Eden, and Grace’s Marketplace.)

Tuscan Cacciucco

3 tablespoons virgin olive oil

1 large clove garlic, sliced

1 pound calamari, cleaned, cut into 1/2-inch rings

12 mussels, beards removed

8 clams

1 cup dry white wine

24 ounces Campagna Spicy Garlicky Tomato Sauce

1/2 teaspoon chopped oregano

1/2 teaspoon chopped marjoram

8 ounces filet of monkfish, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 sea scallops, cut in half

8 shrimp (21-26 size), peeled and deveined

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 slices country bread, toasted and rubbed with garlic

Garnish: parsley and extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle over stew

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, add the garlic, and sauté until lightly browned. Add the calamari, and sauté for 1 minute, then add the mussels, clams, white wine, tomato sauce, herbs, and 1/3 cup water. Let the stew simmer slowly until the shellfish have opened and the tomato sauce has cooked into the wine. Add the monkfish, and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the scallops, cook for 1 minute, and then add the shrimp. Once the shrimp have turned pink and firm, remove the stew from the stove and gently transfer to a large tureen. To serve, place a piece of garlic bread in the bottom of each bowl and slowly pour the stew over the bread, trying not to break the pieces of fish. Garnish with chopped parsley, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with additional garlic bread.

(Sauces available at the Vinegar Factory, Eli’s Manhattan, Campagna Home, and Bed Bath & Beyond.)

Stir-fried Mixed Vegetables
in Chili-Ginger Pan Sauce


1 and 1/2 teaspoons canola oil

2 pounds mixed baby vegetables, such as asparagus, corn, squash, and tomatoes, washed and trimmed

4 ounces wild mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

1 jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded, and minced (optional)

1 and 1/2 to 2 cups Charlie Palmer’s Chili-Ginger Pan Sauce

1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetables, starting with the firmest, and sauté for about 2 minutes before adding the next. When the vegetables are tender (but not mushy), stir in the mushrooms and ginger, and the chili, if desired. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the pan sauce, and sauté for 1 minute or until hot. Remove from heat, and adjust seasoning with soy sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with soba noodles.

(Sauces available at Garden of Eden, Citarella,, and Aureole.)

Spicy Peanut Chicken Breast
With Napa Salad


4 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon Jean-Georges California Grapeseed Oil

3/4 cup Vong Spicy Peanut Sauce

4 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage

2 cups shredded carrot

2 cups shredded daikon

1 cup sliced red onion, salted and rinsed

1 cup julienned mango

1 cup chiffonade of mint

3/4 cup Jean-Georges Passion Fruit Vinaigrette

8 sprigs cilantro

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and flatten with a mallet or heavy pan until it’s about 1/2 inch thick. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brush the grill with grapeseed oil and, when hot, add the chicken. Cook for 1 minute, then turn 45 degrees and cook for a further minute; turn over and repeat process. Brush each side of the chicken liberally with peanut sauce while meat is still hot, and set aside to cool.

Toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl with the vinaigrette. Pile salad in the centers of 4 plates. Cut the chicken crosswise into 6 strips, and arrange pieces on and around the salad. Garnish with cilantro.

(Sauces available from ABC Home, Citarella, Zabar’s,, and Balducci’s.)

Saucy Secrets