Ina Garten‘s peanut sauce! Ina actually calls it satay dip, but it’s so stunningly delicious I wouldn’t care if she told me its name was Dick Cheney. Not that she would tell me that. She’s famous, so we don’t get the opportunity to chat much. Or ever. But she’s kind of my hero. I kind of think she can do no wrong. She lives in the Hamptons, for gosh sake. Year round! With her adorable husband and her all-white china and her sprawling herb garden.
Ina’s recipes are flawless – simple, elegant, consistently delicious. Her chicken piccata is light and fresh and makes you think that all chickens should be piccata’ed. Her lemon yogurt cake, her chicken with goat cheese and basil, her beef bourguignon, her coconut cupcakes, her kitchen clambake… they’re just all perfect. And her peanut sauce. For the love of god, the peanut sauce. …Satay dip. Whatever.
Former buxom blonde bombshell, Brigitte Bardot (how’s that for alliteration?) once said that “peanut butter is paté for children.” I think that’s sort of perfect. And, if true, it stands to reason that Ina Garten’s peanut sauce is paté for Mollys, and maybe even for you, too. I’m not saying you should attempt to bathe in it, but I think you should at least try it. Smeared on a chicken sandwich, saucing up shrimp or steak for lunch or dinner, or maybe served as a dipping sauce for chicken and shrimp skewers at your next party. And if you do want to bathe in it? This is me not judging you.
I originally made this peanut sauce/satay dip for a girls night in featuring appetizers and a showing of the latest episode of Gossip Girl. I won’t go into the details of the lame, flashback-y show, but the peanut sauce is worth discussing. At length. It was meant to be served as a twist on the traditional cocktail sauce for shrimp cocktail, but we ended up dipping everything we could find in it – shrimp, raw veggies, pita chips, fingers. In short, the peanut sauce was a major hit (albeit a slightly obscene one).
I’m not sure how, but I ended up with some leftover, which I immediately turned into one of the best dinners I’ve had in awhile: roast shrimp and veggies with peanut sauce. Roasting gives shrimp such wonderful, juicy flavor, and it really couldn’t be easier. And with the leftover peanut sauce? Perfection. Don’t be alarmed by the long list of ingredients in the satay dip – after a bit of chopping and measuring, the stuff comes together before you can say “thank you, Ina Garten.”
- 1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- handful or two of snowpeas
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
For Satay Dip:
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 2/3 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons white wine or dry sherry
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Arrange shrimp, veggies and chickpeas on a large sheetpan. Drizzle olive oil over shrimp and veggies, turning to coat, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place sheetpan in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and juicy. Meanwhile, make the satay dip.
Cook the olive oil, sesame oil, red onion, garlic, ginger root, and red pepper flakes in a small, heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat until the onion is transparent, 10 to 15 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, peanut butter, ketchup, sherry or wine, and lime juice; cook for 1 more minute. Spoon over the shrimp and veggies and mix to coat. If desired, cool and use as a dip for shrimp cocktail, grilled chicken or steak.
Makes 1 1/2 cups peanut sauce and enough roast shrimp and veggies for 2 people.