There are many reasons to love sour cream sauces, but they all come down to one thing. Sour cream is quite possibly the most astonishingly delicious food in the universe because its satiny smooth texture and rich layers of flavor can handle just about any kind of food the home cook might toss in its direction. Foods that are glorified by sour cream sauces include all kinds of meat and fish, veggies, fruit, and even rich pudding or cake desserts.
So innocent, pure white, and lovely is sour cream in the mouth. Part of its charm, though, is that it’s got the ability to subtly bite back. It tastes wonderful in the mouth and just as wonderful after it’s been swallowed as the echo of its flavors reverberate in the mouth’s memory. Sour cream sauces can handle 100 and more flavor playmates, from herbs and garlic to sugar and lemon. Its ability to welcome a world of tastes into its creamy self makes it a natural topping for everything from soup to nuts.
Stirring a jar of salsa into sour cream yields a great predinner dip for corn chips, carrots, and more. Herbed sour cream and mayo spreads have successfully topped many a canapé. A dollop of curried sour cream makes a bowl of otherwise bland black bean soup sit up and sing.
Red meat, poultry, and pork get a kick out of zippy sour cream and onion sauces to which a squirt of lemon or lime has been added, along with a handful of chopped, fresh herbs. Cooks who like to turn up the heat can add chili peppers or a dash of hot sauce to bring an otherwise well-behaved sour cream sauce to center stage. Delicate fish that would swim away in terror from such fiercely flavored sauces will flip their happy tails over a sour cream sauce made with a little mustard, lemon, and capers.
If sour cream could talk, it would tell the world that it has never met a veggie it didn’t love. It’s especially amazing served atop cold beets with a little orange zest or thinned with lemon juice for use with asparagus. Everyone knows that potatoes and sour cream have been best friends since the dawn of time. Saucing up that friendship only requires enough imagination to toss in some chopped bacon, thinly sliced scallions, or a few walnut pieces.
Dreamy, creamy sour cream sauces for desserts are easy to assemble. Fruit loves being bathed in a sour cream and cream cheese combo wearing a few drops of almond or vanilla extract and a little lemon. Richly moist chocolate cake rolls over and purrs when sour cream, cream cheese, and melted chocolate or caramel sauce is dribbled across its surface.