Thursday, June 18, 2009

Honey-Chipotle Dipping Sauce

To me, an integral part of summer is grilled food. Seasonal fruits and vegetables on the grill are a key aspect of this for me. However, some people like to have a bit more protein and there’s definitely logic to that. Protein helps you feel full longer. My protein is usually whatever the grocery store has on sale in the seafood department or pressed and marinated tofu.

My father was grilling shrimp a few weeks ago and made a marinade for them out of some soy sauce, lime juice, and pureed chipotle pepper, plus a generous pinch of salt. I wanted to reduce the marinade after the shrimp came out. I tend to do this with marinades and some are more successful than others. I added honey and sugar to help balance the heat and tartness of the marinade. Although this reduction worked out just fine, the flavor wasn’t quite what I was aiming for—I was hoping to replicate the glaze over a piece of salmon I tried in St. Louis earlier this summer.

I found the original version of this sauce online and made some modifications. The next time Dad made those shrimp, I made this sauce for dipping them in, but it doubles well as a sweet-and-spicy salad dressing, and also works well for painting vegetables as they grill (do it just before they come off the heat, otherwise it’ll just melt off) if you make it thicker. This still isn’t the sauce from the St. Louis brewery, but I like it and it encourages me to keep roasted garlic around, which when it’s done right is incredibly sweet.

If you don’t have wine, don’t worry about it. Add a little bit of water instead—or like I did last time, leave it out completely and just remember that you don’t have as liquid a mixture when you’re deciding how much cornstarch you want to add.

Honey-Chipotle Dipping Sauce

¼ cup rum
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white wine
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon roasted garlic, minced
½ - 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
½ cup honey
½ - 2 tablespoons chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, pureed
Pinch of salt and sugar, if needed

In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together the run, soy sauce, wine, ginger, and garlic. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and lime juice. Depending on how thick you want your sauce, vary the cornstarch between ½ tablespoon and 1 ½ tablespoons. Add to saucepan once the rum mixture boils. Stir well.

As the mixture begins to thicken, add the honey and pureed chipotle pepper. The amount of pepper you add should be determined by how spicy you want the resulting sauce. Bring back to a boil and cook until fully thickened. Taste and add salt and/or sugar, if needed for balance.

Yields: about 1 ½ cups sauce