Spectacular barbecue serving sauce

Spectacular barbecue serving sauce

By Carolyne

Don’t throw away that leftover red half-tomato.

Nothing much ever goes to waste in my kitchen. I had a large red tomato and I used half of it for a plain old-fashioned tomato sandwich.

I don’t like tomato skins so I had scorched it with boiling water, making the X on the bottom so as to let the skin just slip off. A couple of nice thick slices made a great sandwich.

So I made barbecue sauce with the leftovers. You can easily double or even quadruple this recipe.


  • 2 T finely chopped white onion
  • Pinch of dried thyme
  • 1/2 medium red tomato, chopped
  • 1 t chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 t finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 T white Balsamic vinegar
  • Minced crushed garlic clove
  • I T best maple syrup
  • Salt, fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 T plum jam
  • 1 T orange marmalade
  • 1 fig (chopped or mashed), marinated in brandy
  • 1/2 t mustard
  • Grated orange and lemon rind
  1. Sauté the onion — careful not to burn it; just translucent. Add pinch of dried thyme. Then add tomato, herbs, vinegar and garlic. Stir and then add the syrup. Adjust seasonings. Mash using fork tines.
  2. When the mixture has cooked down and thickened, add 1T homemade plum jam, (or favourite store bought), 1 T orange marmalade and one marinated-in-brandy fig.
  3. Stir in the mustard.
  4. Mash and stir the finished mixture. Stir in the rind.
  5. Cover the container with plastic wrap as well as its cover, in a storage jar in the coldest area of the fridge, for up to several weeks. Keep it airtight.
  6. The flavour of the good brandied fig will enhance the overall wonderful taste. And the fragrance permeates the kitchen.
  7. Use on barbecued butterfly centre-cut pork chops, barbecued lamb chops or barbecued fish. Top meat or fish with this sauce just minutes before serving, while still on the barbecue. Be careful not to burn it.
  8. Serve immediately.

This sauce is also suitable for barbecued large portobello mushrooms. They taste like steak.

Remove the stem. Paint the mushrooms with just a little olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with pepper on the inside side only. Salt after cooking is finished.

Barbecue for three to four minutes on each side on medium high heat. Spoon a little sauce on the stem side. Serve it whole or sliced in thick slices. Truly wonderful!

This sauce even enhances sautéed liver. As with other uses, paint on a little sauce only during last few minutes.  Since the sauce is sweet, it will become sticky and easily burn.

Try it on Rock Cornish hens, too.

Here’s a great way to prepare cherry tomatoes – yellow and red in balsamic and soya sauce.

First split the bigger ones in half. Use dark good balsamic vinegar (1:3) and your favourite oil cooked on top of the stove with a little brown sugar and a little soya sauce. Add a pinch
of good mustard, stirred in.

When it thickens just slightly and coats a spoon, it is ready to use. Fabulous on cherry tomatoes with baby spinach leaves. Enjoy! So yum…

The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. Her ebook, Gourmet Cooking - at Home with Carolyne is available here for $5.99 US. Email Carolyne. Scroll down to the comments at each recipe column. Carolyne often adds complimentary "From Lady Ralston's Kitchen" additional recipes in the Recipes for Realtors Comments section at REM.


  1. Perhaps give it a try. Big surprise flavour …

    Another Half-Tomato Saved (not tossed away, but tossed in a bowl…)

    Once again – don’t toss out that leftover half-tomato (it could be any colour: red, green, yellow, orange, or white)

    If you have fresh parsley, use it, chopped. If not, the LiteHouse brand fresh freeze-dried works well. Always have jars in your pantry.

    Slice thick slices and chop the leftover large half-tomato into quarter inch cubes and toss into a glass bowl. Chop in half a dozen manzanilla pimento-stuffed olives that you always have on hand in the fridge (a bottle lasts ages), and add to the chopped tomatoes in the bowl. Add a half-teaspoon of the olive jar jus.

    Sprinkle with a quarter teaspoon of light, golden brown sugar. Add a quarter teaspoon of your homemade, golden, oven-roasted garlic purée from your refrigerated storage jar.

    By now the tomato juices and the packing juice from the olives are in the bottom of the dish.

    Add a few grinds of fresh pepper and a little of your favourite salt along with fresh thyme, fresh tiny oregano leaves, and a pinch of garlic salt to complete the mix.

    Toss with a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of white wine vinegar. (Don’t use regular olive oil on salads.)

    Let the mix sit until you are ready to serve. Use as a buttered crispy toast topper or as a tapas made with grilled or BBQ’d French baguette sliced on the diagonal. Maybe add the tomato mix topped on my chicken liver pâté bruschetta?
    If you have sauce left over don’t toss it, either. Drizzle the sauce over fish, meat, poultry, or game, or use as a marinade.

    Another WHOOPS! Saved from the compost pot.

    ALTERNATE: You could add finely chopped sweet Vidalia onion, chopped fresh raw mushrooms, or even add deep-fried crunchy capers that pop open like little flower-nuts in the hot oil. De-lic-IOUS!

    Of course made either way, a tiny splash of Asbach Uralt Cognac takes it all up a notch. You could even add a chopped Brandied fig from your marinating jar.

    Want to make it extra-special?
    Add a half cup of quartered Canadian creamy goat cheese coins from your marinating jar just when ready to serve. Oh, my!

    My personal experience: This special tomato olive mix is terrific drizzled over hot scrambled eggs, with toasted, buttered, soldiers. Note: Always heat a plate in very hot water before serving eggs to preserve the wonderful natural flavours. (Who says you can’t eat scramble eggs for lunch or supper?)

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

  2. = = = ADD-ON May 2018

    Buy a glass jar of Sambel for your pantry; a Dutch Indonesian hot sauce that allegedly comes in as much as three hundred variations, allowing you to choose hot or more hot.

    Add as much or as little as you like, Sambel, to my “Spectacular Barbecue Serving Sauce.” Stir in a little of your favourite liquid honey. I just love orange blossom honey from Israel. It is almost impossible to find on this side of the ocean, sadly. I have not been able to find a match, so have to use whatever I can find

    You might prefer to use liquid maple syrup in place of the honey.

    Use this combo to baste your barbecued ribs, just during final minutes of cooking.

    OR: Baste roasted Rock Cornish Game Hens with the Sambel-Honey mixed with my Spectacular Sauce, just during last five minutes of roasting. Serve each person a whole small hen. My Caesar Salad is a perfect pairing with the roasted hens.

    OR: Using a stovetop ribbed grill pan, sear thick, marinated, pork chops, both sides. Turn down heat and set your timer (smart phone) for three minutes. Turn. Reset timer for another three minutes. Smear with the Sambel-honey mixed with my sauce once the juices run clear and the chops are cooked. Tent and rest the chops before serving.

    OR: If you like, you can drizzle the Sambel-Honey with my serving sauce, over grilled chicken breasts. Serve with my pear salad:


    OR: if you just love chicken livers, and would like to dress them up a little differently, add a little Sambel-Honey in my sauce and drizzle over the just barely cooked chicken livers. Serve on pre-baked squares of golden puff pastry. Very unusual and extremely tasty. A glass of cool Winzertanz pairs wonderfully.


    Want something unusual? Drizzle a little of the hot sweet sauce over a poached egg with or without hollandaise sauce that sits atop a crispy toasted buttered English muffin. Serve perfectly done bacon strips on the side.

    You might consider serving the drizzled egg on a pre-baked puff pastry square. Handy to always have on hand, the puff squares can be stored in an airtight tin with a sheet of white paper towel; the pre-baked frozen puff pastry will keep for several days and can be served at any meal.

    This is the sort of perfect dish even to build if you live alone. Everything is generally available so is easily prepared at a minute’s notice.

    A mesclun salad dressed in an always available everyday dressing; use 1:3 parts white or red wine vinegar and extra light virgin olive oil will be a perfect palette pairing.

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

  3. My Spectacular Seafood Cocktail Sauce (you will always want to have this sauce available for instant gourmet)

    One person who made the original serving sauce recipe said: “Golly! why make so little?” not realizing my original recipe was a great accidental creation I made just not to waste that leftover tomato… She followed her comment with: “WHO NEEDS KETCHUP? Won’t ever have to buy ketchup again. Will use this best of, instead.”

    That was a wonderful comment. So now here is another use for my “Spectacular Barbecue Serving Sauce.” (Change it into a very special “Seafood Cocktail Sauce…”)

    You will want to double or even quadruple my original sauce recipe, so as to have plenty or even a little storage extra.

    Prepare original recipe in multiples. Add a teaspoon of freshly grated real horseradish, a half-teaspoon of mashed oven-roasted garlic clove purée that you have stored in the fridge in an airtight glass jar; my oven-roasted garlic keeps for weeks (not stored in oil). Storing oven-roasted garlic in oil can allow poisonous spores to grow. If you see spores, absolutely do not eat, under any circumstances. The spores can be deadly.

    Stir in a few drops of your favourite hot sauce such as Tabasco, (Sriacha works), and or you might enjoy WildlyDelicious PeriPeri.

    Sprinkle a little fresh squeezed lemon juice into the mix and a quarter teaspoon of fresh lemon zest. Add a quarter teaspoon of granulated sugar. Grind a little extra fresh black peppercorns into the cocktail sauce.

    This seafood cocktail sauce will keep for several days in an airtight glass jar in the refrigerator. Do not store in plastic.

    If you have shrimp cocktail insert double-glass serving stemmed bowls, put crushed ice in the under-bowl and put a tablespoon of the cocktail sauce in the centre of the glass bowl that you hang the large shrimp from around the edge. Or if you have tiny crystal or glass little presentation centres, use those for placing the sauce inside the cold bowls.

    A beautiful table presentation is to place a row of the shrimp edged glasses on large, long, rectangular white serving plates with a paper doily under each. Place the long rectangular plates in a row down the centre of the table as a decoration centre-piece row. Each guest can serve themselves when seated. Place a glass under-plate as a small charger at each place setting, on a placemat.

    This arrangement also makes a nice buffet table service. Allow six or eight cold shrimp on the edge of each cocktail glass serving.

    Suggested pairing: My special, original Caesar Salad and a “Bloody Caesar” (very different than a Bloody Mary, a Caesar is a Canadian creation, and can now be bought pre-made in glass bottles at the liquor board stores). Easy on the ice. A squirt of lemon and a tall stir stick celery stock with its leaves attached finishes this amazing drink. Tastes as great as it looks.

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

  4. Just a little cold-season reminder: This “s’awesome” recipe is perfect for those who enjoy their BBQ all year ’round.

    For some reason, winter bbq-ing seems especially provocative and evocative. You will surely tempt the neighbours perhaps to light up their own.

    • Lemon-orange-maple vinaigrette salad dressing

      *Just because* …
      It’s fresh fruit “peach season”…

      Squeeze juice from a fresh lemon and a sweet orange into a mixing bowl; stir in a few drops of dijon mustard; grate a teaspoon each of the lemon and orange rind into the mix; sprinkle with white (only) balsamic vinegar and whisk in your favourite oil. (Now if you are into adding garlic to everything, mashed minced with salt, it’s okay to use here.)

      Add a couple tablespoons of top grade maple syrup or really good liquid honey.

      If you store fresh figs in brandy to have on hand for a gourmet treat, a good use for the “fig juice:cognac” – add a tablespoon to this salad dressing… For a complete WOW! factor.

      Add a bit of sea salt, and a few grinds of white cracked pepper.

      (btw – try using this salad dressing as a chicken breast grilling marinade – oh, my! – when the chicken is just barely cooked, flame it stovetop, in a skillet, using Southern Comfort)

      Drizzle the dressing over sliced fresh peaches, blueberries, sweet or tart apple slices, and whole citrus segments; and serve in a separate side dish alongside your favourite greens.

      Could be mesclun mix greens, ‘shredded’ mix of romaine and iceberg lettuce, or baby spinach.

      Add crumbled blue cheese or feta cheese just before serving.

      Top with thinly sliced naked (blanched) almonds, or perhaps candied pecans, crushed or whole.

      To make this salad into a whole meal, add sliced grilled chicken breasts, or a cup of baby shrimp, or a half dozen medium large grilled shrimp (the size you serve as shrimp cocktail).

      For a formal dinner starter plate, serve on a pretty glass see through plate with a large paper lace doily underneath, on a fabulous charger.

      For everyday eating, serve in a generous see through individual glass bowl, on a large dinner plate with a buttered roll on the side.

      Another pretty way to serve: mound the greens in the flat dip of an oversize flat soup bowl. The very large kind with a small centre nearly flat serving indent.

      Serve the fruit mix in an individual pretty side-serving dish, to be added to greens when ready to eat.

      A great compliment to fish, poultry, or meat main course. This salad, when fresh peaches are in season, is super great alongside grilled baby lamp chops. And serve with fresh grilled black olive bread, drizzled with melted butter or olive oil.

      Mix and match your favourite fruits and greens.

      Oh, my! Your guests will think you slaved all day in the kitchen. Not. Just need to be organized (and clean up as you go).

      ENJOY – and share with your friends. From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen, to yours.

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