Sauce Gribiche On Restaurant Menus

Boiled eggs are key to summer's most versatile sauce

Oh, the French.

Only they would think to boil an egg to then break it down into a sauce.

But we're grateful for such logic-defying experiments. Otherwise sauce gribiche, the condiment of the moment, would never have been created.

The classic sauce gribiche (see the recipe) operates like mayonnaise on steroids. To make it, hard-boiled eggs are emulsified with cornichons, capers, tarragon and mustard before being traditionally slapped on blanched vegetables, fish or tête de veau (calf's head). But chefs around the country have recently been putting their sauce gribiche to fresh use.

At Billy Sunday in Chicago, sauce gribiche pools around pickled sardines, fried sardine spines and potato chips. Chef de cuisine John Vermiglio used the fish sticks of his youth as inspiration: "Our gribiche is like a grown-up version of tartar sauce."

David Chang's Má Pêche in New York pushes the sauce Eastward. Chef Paul Carmichael smokes the hard-boiled eggs before coaxing them into a sauce, then tosses the husky condiment with snap peas, thin strips of seaweed and thumbnail-size slivers of potato.

In Minneapolis, Bachelor Farmer head chef Paul Berglund makes all of his mayonnaise with boiled eggs. "It started because of the health department, but now I prefer it to a raw-yolk mayonnaise because it's more stable and lasts longer," he says. His gribiche is spiked with chervil and parsley, and is currently being served with grilled spring asparagus.