Earlier this month, I was invited to attend an advance screening of the culinary film, "Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent," and absolutely loved it. It's a fascinating, powerful and moving documentary about legendary chef Jeremiah Tower. Produced by Anthony Bourdain, it opens today, Friday, May 19th at Harkins Shea 14, and is a can't-miss film.
When I was asked if I would like to share one of his recipes here on the website, well, of course! I've always been a fan of this enigmatic talent and, after seeing the film, even more so.
The sauce is made with ancho chile, a smoked and dried poblano pepper that lends a mild raisin-y sweetness and fruity heat. Soaked and reconstituted, anchos are puréed into a sauce seasoned with fresh herbs, mellow roasted garlic and tangy lime, and enriched with butter and olive oil.
It's a versatile and complex condiment layered with flavor that can be used to inspire any number of dishes. So far, I've used this delicious sauce to glaze cod for fish tacos, mixed with Mexican crema for potato salad, and for a juicy-smoky roast chicken and potatoes. Chef Towers himself personally shared a handy tip with me - "It's fabulous with sour cream and mayo for grilled meats, fish, and chicken." Thank you Chef!
Jeremiah Tower's Grilled Garlic and Ancho Chili Sauce
- 2 dried ancho chili pods
- 1 head fresh spring first-crop garlic
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ripe lime, zested and juiced
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
- Grill the chilies over a charcoal, wood, or low gas flame until they puff up, or about 3 minutes. Put them in a bowl with enough warm water to cover them. Weight them down with a small saucer, and soak for 2 hours. Drain, saving the water, and remove and discard the stems and seeds.
- Meanwhile, wrap the head of garlic loosely in foil with the thyme and a tablespoon of the olive oil. Cook over low fire or under a broiler until the garlic is tender, or about 20 minutes. Remove the stem and rough outer layers of the skin and discard. Put all the cloves in a food processor and puree the garlic with the remaining olive oil. Pass through a sieve and discard the residue.
- Puree the chiles with just enough of their soaking water to make a smooth puree. Sieve. Clean out the food processor.
- Put the garlic and chili purees in the processor with the lime zest and juice, oregano, butter, and a teaspoon of salt. Puree until soft and smooth. Add more salt if necessary.
Serves 4-6. Tip: If making ahead of time, bring to room temperature to allow butter in sauce to soften.