“That sauce changed my life, for sure” says Chef Nate Whiting, a Johnston and Wales University graduate and the executive chef of Tristan in Charleston, SC. As corn season reaches its height and chefs all across the South search for new and creative ways to incorporate the sweet, summer crop into their dishes, Whiting is already reinventing his favored Corn Butter Sauce, a versatile and flavorful basic great on everything from pasta to seafood.
“It’s nothing I invented, but in my opinion it’s the perfect sauce, you know? It thickens itself, it has luster, it has flavor, it’s sweet, and it doesn’t break on you because of all the starch,” describes Whiting, who uses some variation of the sauce nearly every season. “This is kind of like a basic technique but you can come up with any derivative you want.”
Last season, Whiting used the sauce with a much-loved Foie Gras & Truffled Popcorn Tortellini, and this season it is being used on their Butter-Poached Chicken Breast with Peekeytoe Crab, Popcorn Polenta, Corn and Mushrooms. While Chef Whiting may dress up the sauce for the restaurant menu, he insists that it is an accessible recipe, one he would make at home. “It’s simple, and it has a few layers of sophistication. It looks a little daunting when you first read it, but once you make it one time, you won’t even need the recipe.”
The finished sauce keeps in the fridge for 4-5 days and can also be frozen for later use.
from Chef Nate Whiting of Tristan
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