One time my cousin ran into Owen Wilson at a taco place in Maui. She bumped into him at the condiment bar. She struggled to speak, but when she did, she came up with a great word: “condimentation.”
My cousin: “Oh, um, are you in the market for some…um… condimentation?”
Owen Wilson: “That’s a good one! Condimentation! Yes, I am.”
She zoomed back to the table to tell us about the conversation, and condimentation has been a word we all use now. I’m guessing Owen Wilson must still be using it, too!
In this case, this month’s column is all about sauces, which are basically a glorified form of condimentation. Condiments are a way to say, “Food: I love you. I see you. And I want you to have more.” That’s love!
Let’s start with the Cilantro Jalapeño Mayo. I first found this sauce at Lone Star Taqueria in Utah. It used to only come when you ordered fish tacos, but everyone loved it, so it started being ordered with… everything! “Can I have a side of fish sauce?” To the uninitiated, I’m sure it sounded like we were ordered fermented fish sauce (the Asian ingredient) but it most definitely was not that!
The sauce can be made with yogurt or mayo, although if using yogurt, make sure to cut down on the water. Go to my Instagram to watch a video of me making it. I saved an old mayo squeeze bottle to store it in, which is a nice touch!
1 ¾ c mayo
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 rinsed and stemmed fresh jalapeño with seeds removed
1 peeled garlic clove
½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
¼ teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend. That’s it’s. That’s the sauce. It’s so freaking delicious you’ll want it on everything—not just fish.
I also use if I’m making a southwest style salad with spinach, black beans, corn, and cotija cheese with crunched up Tortillas chips in it. I love putting it in burritos, too. Usually, if I want it for a salad dressing, I’ll sub plain green yogurt for the mayo so it’s healthier. I also use this with red and green cabbage for an amazing southwest coleslaw that is delicious on its own or as a dressed veggie on tacos or in burritos!
Next up, Peanut Dipping Sauce. This is a recipe that might drive some people crazy because I’ve never actually measured it! With that said, I think it’s a good one that you can play with to make it work for you!
Coconut milk (regular, whole fat) Creamy peanut butter
Red curry paste
Start with the can of coconut milk. Add it to a bowl. Add peanut butter and slowly mix in until the coconut milk tastes like peanuts - it should be medium thickness, kind of like a thick cake batter. This should be about 1 cup of creamy peanut butter. Add curry paste until it’s spicy, depending on your spice tolerance, this will be about 1 teaspoon. Add rice vinegar until it’s tangy - maybe about ½ tablespoon. Add a dash of fish sauce. And finally, the lime juice should balance it all out and add a nice freshness to the sauce.
Obviously, this sauce would be ideal for the classic chicken satay recipe, but it also makes a delicious dipping sauce for rice paper rolls, shrimp, potstickers, tempura and fresh vegetables including cucumber slices, carrot sticks and red pepper strips.