Flex your culinary skills in 2017 with mole sauce

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After ringing in the New Year with noise makers, fine bubbly and a midnight kiss from a loved one, be daring and try a new recipe for 2017.

Berkshire/Southern Vermont restaurants often get asked how they make their most popular dishes. Once some dinner guests find out the item is time consuming or don't trust their own culinary skills, they leave the cooking to the professionals.

Nevertheless, several fine local dining establishments hope their regulars and future patrons will take the time and effort to prepare one of their favorites.

For seafood lovers, Mazzeo's Ristorante in Pittsfield, Mass., suggests Linguini Zuppa di Pesce, one of several entrees on their New Year's Eve menu. The dish features classic crustaceans and shellfish in a delectable, but not overbearing, red or white sauce.

"The variety of seafood makes it popular," said Mazzeo's kitchen manager, Brett Mckeon. "The sauce is fairly simple as it lets the seafood shine through."

In Manchester, Vt., Gringo Jack's wows with the Grilled Pork Chop with mole poblano sauce. Moles vary widely in flavors and ingredients, with chiles the common factor. Mole poblano is the classic of mole sauces; a dark red or brown sauce served over meat. Gringo Jack's owner Jack Gilbert says his patrons love the the sauce, just not the thought of preparing it.

"It's a widely authentic dish that's a very long, laborious process that people love to try, but not make at home," he said.

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