A red bell pepper sauce for Laune Collacchi of Baltimore was a request easy to find and easy to enjoy. She wrote that she and her husband had enjoyed the sauce in St. John in the Virgin Islands last summer. "It was on a gnocchi appetizer and was creamy, garlicky and delicious."
Her answer came from Dolores C. Morgan of Cumberland who writes that the sauce, "which is almost like mayonnaise, is delicious with fish, chicken and potatoes as well as grilled foods."
Morgan's red bell pepper sauce
1 thin slice French bread
1/4 cup strained fish broth (see note)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 egg yolks
6 to 8 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste
1 cup olive oil
2 medium sweet red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeds removed (canned peppers may be used)
salt, freshly ground pepper and -- of Tabasco sauce to taste
Remove crust from bread and tear apart. Soak in the fish broth with a pinch of saffron and half the cayenne, until soft.
With a mixer, beat the egg yolks with the bread mixture and garlic. With mixer on medium to low, slowly pour in the olive oil in a steady but thin stream until it becomes the consistency of mayonnaise. When thick, add the red peppers. Season with the salt, pepper, the remaining cayenne and Tabasco.
Note: For a quick and simple fish broth, simmer a 1/4 -pound or more piece of flounder or your fish of choice in about 2 cups of water with a small pinch of pepper, bay leaf, tarragon, thyme, chopped onion and carrots, for about 20 minutes. Strain broth.
Our tester, Chef Gilles Syglowski, noted that if you prefer not to use regular egg yolks, the pasteurized yolks available in the grocery store will serve as well.
A tomato stand-in
A request from Mabel L. Campbell of Towson for a fried green tomato recipe brought an answer from Kirk Kraft of Baltimore. It also sent Chef Syglowski searching for a green tomato, which he couldn't find. "I used zucchini prepared the same way and it was delicious and would be equally delicious with green tomatoes," he said.
Kraft's fried green tomatoes
3 to 4 large green tomatoes (about the same number of medium size zucchini)
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
oil for cooking
Italian seasoned bread crumbs
salt to taste
Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, black and cayenne peppers and onion powder. Slice tomatoes about 1/4 - to 3/8 -inch thick. Put about 1/8 inch of oil in pan. Dust tomatoes with flour mixture, then dip in an egg wash (beat eggs and Worcestershire sauce together) and then dredge tomatoes in seasoned bread cru mbs. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel and add more salt if desired. For a thicker crust, repeat each step just before frying.
Simpler preparations called for dredging tomatoes in cornmeal or flour with salt and pepper, no egg wash, and frying in 1/8 -inch of oil until brown. A recipe from a reader in Auburn, N.Y., called for dredging tomatoes in flour with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper, then frying them in bacon fat.
Tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant may be used.
* Helen Heisler of Baltimore writes: "Could you find a recipe for
sweet potato souffle, made with sherry wine and walnuts, like that served at the old Olney Inn."
* Linda Wright of Ellicott City says she once worked at Harrington Raceway in Delaware where a honey-dipped fried chicken was served. "It was very crusty and sweet. Does anyone have this recipe?" she wrote.
* Helen Eisenstein of Baltimore remembers "where Tio Pepe now does business, there was a wonderful little restaurant called the Dutch Kitchen. There they served one of the best cakes with chocolate icing I have ever had. I would be delighted if someone could provide me with the cake and icing recipe."
Chef Syglowski, with the help of chefs and students at the Baltimore International Culinary College, tested these recipes.
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a long-gone recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.
If you send in more than one recipe, put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and phone number. Please note the number of servings which each recipe makes.