Los Angeles chef Josiah Citrin may helm highly acclaimed French restaurant Mélisse, but if you ask him about memorable childhood meals, it all comes back to A.1. Steak Sauce. Luckily, it's just as simple to make your own, and with his recipe, you can tailor the sauce exactly to your preferences. Citrin advises freshness for the ingredients—when you start with the highest-quality Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and orange juice you can find, you'll get an equally laudable end product.
Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup water
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup yellow mustard
¼ cup golden raisins
⅛ cup balsamic vinegar
⅛ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 white button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
2 anchovy fillets, packed in oil and drained
2 garlic cloves, germ removed (see note) and smashed
1 shallot, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
1½ teaspoons celery seeds
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the ketchup, water, mustards, raisins, vinegars, orange juice, Worcestershire, and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the mushrooms, anchovies, garlic, shallots, tarragon, celery seeds, salt, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon and cayenne. Mix well to incorporate. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Gently simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Working in batches if necessary, ladle the sauce into a blender, filling it no more than halfway. Purée on low for a few seconds, and then increase to medium speed until the sauce is completely smooth.
3. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl, pushing the solids with the back of a spoon. Discard the solid pieces. Repeat with the remaining sauce until completely blended and strained.
4. Let cool and transfer the sauce to a tightly covered bowl or individual jars/containers, and refrigerate. The sauce may be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and frozen for up to 3 months. Serve with steak, in a breakfast scramble, as a cocktail ingredient and more.