Some of y’all are aware, (At least i hope ya are), that I’m the resident cook on The Big Wild radio show. Hosts Gundy and The Greek, and Producer Jon hook up with a steady stream of really fine interviews with outdoor big names every week, followed by my little chunk, know as On The Fire. It’s a gas to do, especially since the gang rarely tells me what I’m doing until seconds before we’re on air, (Seriously! They think its fun, and I do too!).
Well for fans and newcomers alike, you might not know that Gundy is a purty dang good cook himself. We chat off air about ingredients and recipes pretty much every week. The other day, he told me about this one. I asked for permission to share, which Dan generously agreed, so here you go – Like all great culinary surprises, it’s remarkably simple in content, and wonderfully subtle and complex in taste.
A little thing like a different variety of balsamic brings on a whole new character, as will various versions of the sweetener, (Try dark brown sugar, light brown, honey, or agave nectar, for example). Experiment and come up with your personal fave. Our favorite variation so far substituted powdered smoke from Butcher and Packer for the liquid smoke and agave nectar for the sugar, then added the juice of a fresh lemon and a pinch of salt: It’s that kind of wonderful thing to play with.
Gundy himself wrote, “I don’t always make it the same way cuz I don’t have a recipe.” That’s the best kind, far as we’re concerned. Just remember to write it down if you come up with chemistry that really knocks your socks off. Dan uses it for fish, but this rocks on poultry, pork, or roasted veggies: For those, you might want to up the vinegar and smoke ratios a bit.
Gundy’s Rosemary Sauce
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
Capful of Liquid Smoke
Sprig of fresh Rosemary
6 – 10 Montmorency Cherries
Gundy notes that, “I have found that a real good balsamic vinegar is overkill. Regular balsamic from the grocery store is thinner and not a waste of great vinegar.” You can certainly put a touch of a really fine balsamic in with the lighter stuff if you want a more complex flavor note.
If you can’t find the cherries themselves, you could substitute a tablespoon or two of sour cherry juice.
In a sauce pan, bring the vinegar to a rolling boil.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve.
Stir in the liquid smoke.
Reduce heat to low, toss in the Rosemary and allow to simmer for 7 to 10 minutes. keep a sharp eye on it, as the sauce reduces quickly.
In the last minute of cooking, toss in the cherries and stir to incorporate.
If you try this with Salmon, Dan says The Commandant, (AKA, the lovely Mrs. Gunderson), “likes to have a thin layer of sauce spread over non -skin side of salmon. I throw it on a plank and grill it covered for 10 minutes or so. The sauce permeates the salmon. Don’t use too much or it overwhelms the fish. Just enough to darken the meat a bit. You will have some left over. Throw the twig on top for show.”
Gundy has honored me more than once, saying on the show, “Do what this guy tells you, it’ll be great.”
Back at ya, my friend!
E & M