Flavor Building Blocks from Special Guest Chef Tony Maws
I recently got back in touch with one of my chef mentors, James Beard Award-Winning Tony Maws from Craigie on Main.
Tony Maws is the James Beard Award-winning chef behind Cambridge’s beloved Craigie on Main, with food defined by his trademark style of fine dining: French-inspired “refined rusticity.” He believes that local, seasonal, and sustainably sourced ingredients are intrinsically better, and form the most significant part of what makes great food great. Outside of the kitchen, his interests include cycling, the Red Sox, reading cookbooks for pleasure (he has a collection of more than 200), walking his dog Maccabee, and cooking for his wife Karolyn and son Charlie. He also was a founding member of the advocacy group Massachusetts Restaurants United created to insure the independent restaurants in Massachusetts have a voice. He also considers himself quite fortunate to have worked side by side with Pegotty’s founder Alison Hearn. Aw, thanks, Tony! The feeling is mutual- no other chef has done more to shape my approach to and understanding of food.
While Craigie is currently not open, he's still cooking up a storm and he was kind enough to share some of his amazing culinary "building blocks" with us- some of his crazy good sauces, pickles, and other power condiments that can help you elevate something simple to something excellent with ease, what is what we're all about at Peggotty Provisions. This is the real deal, made by Tony himself. Peggotty Provisions is the only place you'll find these right now- unless you have a dinner invitation to Tony's house. Thank you for sharing, Chef! Here's what's on offer:
Tony's Fire-roasted Green Chile Sauce: you'll want this on everything, and don't you need a good green chili sauce? Like, whatever is in your fridge is ....definitely not this. Made from literally-roasted-over-live-fire cubanelle and jalapenos, with garlic, onions, cilantro, and a blend of vinegar to round it out. Your eggs need this. Your huevos rancheros need this. You need to buy our pork shoulder and braise it in this and then pull it with two forks and stuff it into warm corn tortillas with cotija and pickled red onions on this.
Tony's Red Chile Sauce: based on a variety of dried red chiles, including New Mexican and Guajillo, this red chili sauce has grounded, earthy flavors, a bit of a raisiny quality the way good dried chiles do. This sauce is complex- and not particularly spicy. This is one to brush all over some grilled skirt steak or chicken thighs after cooking them, fold into braised beans, and add to braised meats. You'll find yourself reaching for it for all kinds of things. Again, enjoy this limited batch of a good thing while it lasts- it won't last long.
Perhaps you've heard of the famous "Craigie Burger"? The one on the cover of Bon Appetit Magazine? Well, now you can recreate your own with some Craigie on Main Ketchup: this tomato-based umami bomb most certainly belongs on a burger. Don't forget our Butcher's Blend Burgers, Shelburne Cheddar, and Steel & Rye Sesame Seed Buns. And awesome Zucchini pickles. But it also has many other uses. This could be your own secret ingredient in braised brisket or braised short ribs. Stay tuned for a steak tartare kit in the weeks to come.
Tony's Garden Pickles: what was fresh from local farms this summer has been preserved in pickle format for your snacking pleasure. Think "Bread & Butter" pickles with lots of other vegetables besides cucumbers. Do a pickle and cheese board one day this week - a hunk of Cabot clothbound cheddar, Tony's Garden Pickles, some duck rillettes, a baguette, and some lightly dressed greens from Holly Hill Farm. That sounds like grazing that could turn into dinner, a strategy we wholly endorse during the busy holiday season.