Years ago, I worked in chef Daniel Boulud's kitchen at Le Cirque, New York City's temple of modern haute cuisine. Every day was a clinic in sauce-making led by sous chef Sottha Khun. Khun was so masterful, we called him Yoda. One of the best lessons he taught was making gastrique, a sweet-sour sauce designed to balance the earthy flavors of game. We learned to alter its sweet and sour character by using different vinegars, sweeteners, dried fruits, and fruit juices. Over the years, I have taken to inventing gastriques for all kinds of rich foods, from grilled tuna to roast pork. One of my favorites is fig gastrique served with quail. —Stephen Kalt, Fornelletto, Atlantic City, New Jersey


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