The Must-Have Pantry Item For An Instant Sauce, According To Tyler Florence - Exclusive

Listen up, fellow home cooks. Tyler Florence has a canned item to add to your next supermarket shopping list, and it's a far cry from the ingredients that go into the chilled Maine lobster, wagyu briskets, or Dover soles that he serves up to customers at his upscale San Francisco establishment, Miller & Lux.

Of course, there's a part of the celebrity chef's heart that will always beat for steakhouse fare, but when Tasting Table talked to the Food Network star, he was crushing on slightly sweeter, more tropical flavors. Follow Florence's lead, and the next time you're perusing grocery store shelves, pick up a can of coconut milk. "Coconut milk is such a great thing that most people should have in their pantry because it's like instant sauce in so many different ways," Florence told us in an exclusive interview. "It's so easy to create beautiful coconut-based sauces, and kids love it because it's got a sweet flavor profile."

Tyler Florence teaches us how to cook with coconut milk

Add coconut milk to your sauce ingredients before you've pureed them for best results, Tyler Florence suggested. That way, as the celebrity chef explained to Tasting Table, you "let the flavors simmer" together. When you do blend them into a sauce, you'll "get this bulk viscosity" and an "explosion [of] flavor at the same time because you create this velvety puree of all of it."

And if it's Southeastern Asian, Pakistani, or Indian curry you're making with coconut milk, don't skip out on frying your hard spices first. "You definitely want to think through frying mustard seeds and frying grilled hard spices that are going to start to perfume and create the aroma," Florence told us. Onions, garlic, and ginger should hit your saucepan next, followed by curry spices. Just before blending, add your coconut milk, and, optionally, tomatoes. Only when your curry is nearly cooked should you introduce your protein of choice, per the chef. "You want to fold in your protein right at the last second so it almost poaches in the finished sauce, versus adding the proteins too early, so they don't feel like they've been boiled," Florence detailed. "You want them to be succulent and just finished."