Gastrique is a classic French sauce. It’s sweet, sour, and intensely flavored, similar to an Italian agrodolce.
A gastrique is an easy way to make any meal feel special. Even the word feels elevated, announce it confidently, and you’ll sound like a trained French Chef. With a gastrique, even a simple Sunday dinner of roasted chicken and potatoes will feel like it came from a fancy restaurant.
How to Make a Gastrique
There are hundreds of ways to make a gastrique, but they all have a sweet and sour component. The sweet element typically comes from fruit and sugar, and the sour component is usually a vinegar.
A classic gastrique is made by caramelizing sugar in a pan, and then dissolving that caramel with a vinegar or other acidic liquid, in a process known as deglazing. These two elements are then cooked together along with other flavorings like shallots or garlic. The final sauce is often pureed and reduced until it is very smooth and thick.
How to Serve a Gastrique
Sweet and sour are both excellent at amplifying the other flavors around them. That means that this classic sauce is an excellent complement to all sorts of food. The tart sweetness will bring some zippy life to rich meats, or anything with a little bit of char.
Chef Roy Yamaguchi uses a variation on the gastrique to create his Sweet and Sour Chicken with a Tomato Gastrique. His technique blends classic French cooking with Asian-inspired flavors to create a dish that’s refined and full of flavor.
Try this recipe at home to see first-hand why this technique is a culinary classic.
Recipe: Tomato Gastrique
- 1 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsps Rice Vinegar
- 4 oz Grape Tomatoes
- 1 Small Yellow Onion
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 2 Tbsps Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 Bird’s Eye Chile Pepper
- In a nonstick pan, combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
- Heat the water to boiling on medium-high. Once boiling, cook, stirring or gently swirling the pan frequently, 1 to 2 to minutes, or until the sugar begins to caramelize.
- Add the vinegar (carefully, as the mixture will bubble up). Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add the halved tomatoes, diced onion, chopped garlic, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and as much of the sliced pepper as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until combined and the liquid is thickened.
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