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Great cooks don’t just have an enormous mental catalogue of different tasty recipes; they have a solid knowledge of basic preparations: grilling, sauteing, broiling, poaching, baking – each of which can be applied to a number of different foods, from seafood to vegetables, meats to soy. They then create variations through sauces, poaching liquids, and other flavorful add-ins to produce a full spectrum of creative and delicious dishes.

Here are three basic sauces from Hawaii that go great with any number of easy seafood preparations. With fresh or high-quality frozen seafood, simplest is often the best. Try grilling salmon, halibut, or skewered shrimp and serve drizzled with one of the following.

SWEET THAI-CHILE HONEY SAUCE
1/4 C sweet Thai chile sauce (Mae Ploy)
1/4 C honey
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger and/or roasted garlic
1/4 C canola oil

Blend all but canola till smooth, and then add oil slowly with blender on low to emulsify.

SPICY SOY MIRIN SAUCE
1/2 C soy sauce
1/2 C mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
1 t minced fresh ginger
1/2 t red chile flakes
1/2 t toasted sesame seeds
Bring all to a boil. Simmer 5 min. Chill until ready to serve.

LEMON OIL
1/2 C canola oil
2 T lemon zest
1 T sugar
1 t red chile flakes
1 T minced fresh lemon grass
Warm all ingredients over medium heat till zest begins to bubble – 5 minutes or so. Do not let it boil. Cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Strain and refrigerate till needed. Bring to room temperature before serving.

3 Simple Sauces: Seafood Essentials from Hawaii
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