If you only knew how this sauce has haunted me since I first ate there four years ago, you would understand how momentous this is for me.
Is it crema? Sour cream? Coud it actually be an aioli? Am I imaging the garlic part? They couldn’t possibly be using pickled ginger, could they? How much cilantro can there possibly be in this? Why is this so hard!? Where’s the Tylenol!? These were the questions that would keep me up at night when I needed a fix and was too far from Minneapolis to feed my craving for Creole comfort food — slow roasted pork with yellow rice and black beans, fried sweet plantains, cornbread and the sauce.
Much like the moment when my brother realized at the age of 18 that Robert Palmer wasn’t saying “Hyenas wear faces, you’re addicted to love,” reading the actual ingredients was a revelation, but the kind of discovery you wish you had been able to come to on your own. It doesn’t take a secret ingredient you must hunt for at five different mercados or a time-consuming process. Just simplicity in a blender.
You will need to rustle up:
- 2 large jalapeños seeded and coarsely chopped.
- 2 large smashed garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons minced white onion (I used Vidalia, as I do for everything, and it was still crazy good.)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 cup mayonaise
- 1/4 cup water (Believe it or not, this is what I was missing. In the words of my father, “Of all the damn things.”)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
Put the jalapeños, garlic, ginger, onion, lime juice and water in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the mayonnaise and cilantro and pulse until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
I would put this sauce on anything short of cardboard, but for its maiden voyage in my kitchen I drizzled it over wild Georgia shrimp, avocado and purple cabbage tacos.
I really can’t think of anything better for Cinco de Mayo except maybe the addition of a strawberry margarita.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a whole mess of tortilla chips and mango salsa I need to regret eating tomorrow.