For Bon Appetit, by Alyse Whitney.
If I starred on an MTV show, it’d be True Life: I’m Addicted to Ginger-Scallion Sauce. This obsession started when I first tried it at Momofuku Ssäm Bar in New York City, but didn’t fully bloom until I made it at home recently. The salty, tangy, just-oniony-enough (official culinary term) sauce cuts through the rich and indulgent Bo Ssäm — their last-meal-worthy slow-roasted pork—but is equally sublime drizzled atop scrambled eggs in the morning, tossed with ramen noodles, or spooned over roasted salmon.
When I tried my hand at making bo ssam at home, I tripled the batch of sauce. Nearly half of it was gone after my group of friends devoured a few pounds of pork, but I tucked a jar full of it in the back of the fridge to dip into daily. I have big plans for it — the base of shrimp fried rice, extra flavor on pan-roasted chicken thighs, and a quasi-vinaigrette with roasted cauliflower, for starters — but it’s more fun to see what random dishes it pairs with.
Here’s how to make it. This makes almost a quart of sauce, so if you don’t trust me on its addictiveness, halve the recipe.
First add a cup of neutral, high-smoking-point oil like grapeseed or sunflower to a small saucepan over medium heat and let it sit there until it’s juuuust about to smoke. You’re going to pour this over the ingredients and not cook them, though, so take your pan off the heat once it’s ready.
Thinly chop two bunches of scallions (wash, then re-rubberband them to slice a ton at once) and add to a large, heat-proof bowl. Peel a four-inch piece of ginger with the back of a spoon, slice, and chop as finely as you can before your arm feels like it’s going to fall off. You can also chop the ginger in a mini-prep, but don’t try to shortcut the scallions—they’ll get slimy and will ruin the sauce.
Add the ginger to the bowl of scallions, then pour the hot oil over it. This helps infuse the flavor more intensely than if you used cold oil, but if you don’t have time to heat your oil, it’s not the end of the world.
Next, add a hefty pinch of kosher salt, a few tablespoons of light soy sauce if you can find it (not to be confused with low-sodium — the Chinese sauce is lighter, saltier, and thinner than traditional soy, and I use Pearl River Bridge), and a few teaspoons of Sherry or rice wine vinegar. Taste as you go and add a little more soy, vinegar, or salt as needed. It should have some spice from the ginger and an underlying garlicky bite from the scallions, but the degree of saltiness and vinegary tanginess is up to you.
It theoretically can last a few weeks in the fridge, but it probably won’t. Carry a bunch of mints with you at all times, because you’re gonna put this sauce on errthing.
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