One of my tweeps, Jen Woo, approached me a while back about a company called Le Grand’s line of gourmet raw sauces, asking if I had ever tried them. When I indicated that I had not, a five-pack of sauces showed up at my door, just begging me to cook with them.
I have to be honest…I was excited about trying the sauces because they were raw, but at the same time, I had some reservations about the mass appeal of any “raw sauce.” In BlogWellDone’s Hierarchy of Culinary Severity, raw is actually more extreme than vegan and only slightly less extreme than raw vegan. When paired with BlogWellDone’s Theory of Carnivorous Propensities to Utter “Um, No” which states that the more severe a food is, the more likely a carnivore is to say “Um, no” to that food, let’s just say in the pit of my stomach, I had this feeling a lot of people would be saying “Um, no” to Le Grand.
I’m not going to say Le Grand proved me wrong, as such a thing is not possible, however, I am going to say “GOOD GRIEF THOSE SAUCES ARE GOOD.” I thoroughly enjoyed tasting the four different sauces they sent me: Garden Pesto (I got 2 packs of this one), 4 Nuts and Cheese Pesto, Sun-dried Tomato Pesto, and Lemon Confit & Pumpkin Seed sauce. I cannot say this enough: I was amazed at how each absolutely burst with flavor.
The Garden Pesto had this amazing basil flavor that was strong, without being overpowering. With a little olive oil to thin it, I could eating it over some pasta without adding any other flavorings.
The Sun-dried Tomato Pesto had an equally bold flavor, though it was more complex than the Garden Pesto because it mixed in the sweet/savory flavor of sun-dried tomatoes. The Lemon Confit & Pumpkin Seed sauce should have been something I absolutely despised because of its strong taste of citrus (I am not a huge citrus fan), but the sauce was very complex. It was sweet from natural sweetners and the pumpkin seeds gave the sauce balance so it wasn’t all acid. The 4 Nut and Cheese Pesto was my wife’s favorite and was a little less in your face with its flavors. Not that it was bad, just milder.
I was simply astounded that so much flavor could come from these sauces. When I ate each one, I knew there was basil or sun-dried tomatoes or lemons in those sauces and it got me to thinking. Maybe I need to look at how I make sauces.
Le Grand cold presses each sauce and since they are raw, there was no chance for heat to leech flavors from them. So maybe when making some sauces, heat is the enemy…
Basically, that one tasting changed the direaction of my own culinary voyages. From now on, I really need to try to use as little heat as possible in my (non-French) sauces so that the natural flavors can shine through. I literally cannot imagine a sauce tasting as good and as bold as one from Le Grand’s if it has been cooked. They were that good.
Now, all of this isn’t to say that I’d never put one of Le Grand’s sauces in a cooked dish. I definitely would do that. I was actually impressed that on Le Grand’s site that they show how to use their sauces in a number of cooked dishes (I would have assumed raw sauce = raw cuisine.) So, I’ll be taking a page from their book. I am sure that the sauces would be welcome in a number of raw dishes, but over the next three posts I’ll be showing some cooked dishes that are made absolutely amazing with the help of one of Le Grand’s raw sauces.
Until then, check out their website and think about ordering a sauce or 10. You won’t be sorry.