Haute Condiments at Home

We home cooks are an enthusiastic bunch. We get giddy over raw-milk cheese. We debate the use of sweet versus smoked paprika. And salt? Our drawers overflow with pink, grey and fleur de sel. Which is why we should make our own condiments. Homemade condiments can add nuance to every meal, and best of all, the ingredients are infinitely changeable. If you like the tarragon mayo on your asparagus, make a basil one for your BLT. Enjoy horseradish butter on your steak? Finish your scallops with a lemon version. Once you master the technique for making your own fresh condiments, you’ll never settle for store-bought again.

Tarragon Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is made by emulsifying a raw egg and oil or, as I like to call it, magic. The results are light and fluffy, completely unlike the rubbery stuff that globs out of the bottle. Use this tarragon mayo as a sweet dip for oven fries or to jazz up a grilled chicken breast.

Get the recipe.

Horseradish Butter

Butter makes everything better. Use this recipe to kick up your steak, corn on the cob or green vegetables. Regular butter works just fine, but use a rich European butter if you want to spread it easily, say, over a baguette. You’ll find fresh horseradish root in the produce section of your grocery store. Remove the outer layer with a sharp knife and grate the peeled root with a cheese grater. In a pinch, you can use prepared horseradish from a bottle, but it may not be as piquant.

Get the recipe.

Spicy Stout Mustard

What does it take to make the spiciest mustard in town? Just a few tablespoons of mustard seed and a bottle of our local brew. Brown mustard seeds have a horseradish-like heat to them, so play with the brown-to-yellow ratio to achieve your preferred level of zing. You can also experiment with different vinegars. White balsamic adds a contrasting sweetness; use sherry vinegar for a deep, dark punch.

Get the recipe.

Sweet and Savory Ketchup

If you avoid the high-fructose, store-bought version, you’ll appreciate this approach to ketchup. It’s made with agave and molasses, so pile it on your burger with a clear conscience. Add horseradish to make a tangy cocktail sauce, a few drops of Sriracha for sizzle, or brown sugar and ginger to make a delicious barbecue version.

Get the recipe.

Roasted Green Chile Sauce

This versatile topper is long on flavor and low on heat. Let the flavors blend overnight, and you’ll be rewarded with complex flavor notes that won’t fry your palate. Prefer something that clears your sinuses? Reserve some of the chile seeds to put back in the sauce, or blend in pieces of a roasted Serrano pepper until you taste the burn. Enjoy your roasted green chile sauce over pork, enchiladas, even eggs.

Get the recipe.