Secretariat Horseradish Cream Sauce for the Triple Crown: Beef, Fish, and Veggies

"Horseradish, has nothing to do with horses, happily, but it puts a real giddyup in other dishes." Meathead

Secretariat was the greatest horse that ever lived winning 16 of his 21 races. From my couch I watched him win the first Triple Crown in 25 years in 1973. It was breathtaking. He was last coming out of the gate at the Derby and won by 2 1/2 lengths and set the track record of 1:59 2/5, a record that stands as of this writing. At the Preakness he again broke last from the gate, won again by 2 1/2 lengths. The clock malfunctioned, so we can never know for sure how fast he went. The Belmont was breathtaking. It was close at the start, with Sham, second place finisher to Secretariat in both previous races running right with the great one. And then the big chestnut colt kicked in the afterburners and won by an astonishing 31 lengths, running the fastest 1 1/2 miles in history at 2:24, despite not being challenged. The record still stands.

Horseradish, has nothing to do with horses, happily, but it puts a real giddyup in other dishes. It is a white root that looks like a crooked white carrot and has lovely white flowers in spring that smell like, you guessed it, horseradish! Farmers dig it up, clean off the dirt, peel it, and grate it. It has a kick when raw, and my wife's Uncle Carmen, whose family is from Southern Italy, was known to grate it raw on pasta with tomato sauce instead of using hot pepper flakes. It is not at full strength raw, but mix it with a little distilled white vinegar and a pinch of salt and you have the same sinus opening stuff that you can find in the chill chest of the grocery store, all three alarms ringing.

This creamy mild horsey sauce starts with the grocery store stuff, but you can make it from scratch. It works like a champion on the Triple Crown of roast beef sandwiches, smoked salmon, and baked potatoes. You can also use it on corned beef and its cousin, New England Boiled Dinner. I love it as a dip for carrots, celery, and potato chips.

Recipe for Secretariat Horseradish Cream Sauce

raw horseradish root

 

Makes. Enough for a 2 to 4 pound roast

Takes. 5 minutes

Ingredients

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish in vinegar

2 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 pinches ground white pepper

About the horseradish. If you grow your own, dig out a root or three, wash it well, peel it, grate it fine with a box grater, and mix in distilled white vinegar enough to make it slushy. Add a pinch or three of salt, and let it age in the fridge for a few hours to activate all the flavors.

About the sour cream. You can substitute creme fraiche, heavy cream, or mayo for part of the sour cream.

About the white pepper. The sauce looks prettier without black flecks, so that's why I recommend white pepper, but if you don't have it, black pepper works great.

Optional mix-ins. Roast garlic. For serving with fish, add 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill. For serving with beef add 4 tablespoons chopped chives or green onions.

Method

1) If you have raw horseradish root, wash it thoroughly and with a peeler, scrape it until only milky while shows. Then grate it fine or beat the heck out of it in a processor or blender. Add just enough distilled white vinegar to make it slushy and spreadable, and then a pinch of salt to taste. I've tried it with other vinegars and the results are very good, but not as versatile. Let it age a few hours to reach a full gallop.

2) Mix all the ingredients and taste. Add more of whatever you want. Try to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow them to mingle properly.

smoked salmon with horseradish cream sauce

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