Who Went First?  Crabs or Mustard or Mustard Sauce?

It’s pretty difficult to find Stone Crab served without Mustard Sauce.  Besides lemons, this signature, sweet southern shellfish really has no better accompaniment..  The thick emulsion has a lemony creaminess at the beginning, with that little spicy kick at the end. Replete with Iced Tea or even a Mint Julep, the very thought conjures up sensory images of Magnolia and a warm evening.

In a pinch, just mixing some dry mustard with some mayonnaise and correcting the seasonings is enough to make this mustard sauce work, and that’s what a lot of restaurants do.  There’s really no reason to go overboard with the presentation, either.  Succinct simplicity always reigns over the gilded Lily.

Chaud-froid Mousseline? Not Exactly

My friend mentioned that he had recently been served a version that was slightly warm, and I found the idea intriguing.  He wasn’t even sure that he liked it; we’re still not sure if that warmth was intentional, or coincidental.  But, “really,” he mused, “hot mayo?” He was eating at a pretty expensive place, and most of us share a little shyness when it comes to asking what may be a “dumb” question.  We shouldn’t feel that way, but, we do.

Many people don’t realize that mayonnaise type emulsions are safe served at most any temperature.  After all, Hollandaise sauce is a mayonnaise emulsion, made with butter instead of salad oil. For example, the caveat to stay away from mayonnaise based salads at picnics is an ironic fallacy.  It’s not the mayonnaise that becomes hazardous sitting out in the sun–it’s the other ingredients in those salads that are the culprits.

The Danger Zone

Potatoes, pasta, even onions can suffer from exposure to the elements, but mayonnaise itself is too acidic to be vulnerable–it’s probably the safest thing IN those salads.  Nobody seems to register that mayonnaise is sold from the shelf in the market, and not from the refrigerator section.  It’s mostly neutral vegetable oil, with pasteurized eggs and some form of acid–lemon juice or vinegar.  Very safe.  The store bought stuff SHOULD be refrigerated after opening.  Why?  People accidentally introduce potentially hazardous substances into the mayonnaise.  They forget they just used that spoon or knife to do something “else.”

That being said, I decided to make a sort of Creole Mustard Sauce that could be safely served, hot, cold, or in between.  I am hopeful that purists and authenticists will forgive me for the few liberties I took with the model.

Let the Good Times Roll!

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg–that’s right, WHOLE
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Hondashi granules (made from smoked, dried Bonito Tuna)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard–please forgive me, Mr. Coleman
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 1 cup neutral salad oil

Procedure:

Sous Vide Mustard Sauce

  • Note that I put the Ziploc Quart bag in a 12 0z glass, and folded it over.

mustard sauce

  • I put the egg in the bag, and 1/2 Tablsepoon Hondashi granules.

mustard sauce

  • Next I added the 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic.

mustard sauce

  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard, and the 1 Tablespoon Red Boat Fish Sauce.

mustard sauce

  • The juice of one lemon, strained.

mustard sauce

  • I squeeze a little air out of the bag, but it doesn’t have to be completely air free.

mustard sauce

  • Seal the bag, and process Sous Vide @183×30 minutes.

mustard sauce

  • This is how it should look at this point–more or less like oily scrambled eggs.

mustard sauce

  • Put in a clear, 12 oz. container, so you can see the action.  Insert stick blender ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM.

Stand by to Start Your Blenders!

mustard sauce

  • Start by pulsing the blender, and you will the see the oil being slowly pulled down into the other ingredients.
  • Resist the urge to lift the blender, this can break the sauce.
  • Continue blending, and, then, slowly TILT the blender to the side.  This will pull the rest of the oil down into the emulsion.
  • If a little oil remains on the top, I use a spoon to finish stirring it in.

mustard sauce

  • Serve this mustard sauce warm, or chill and use cold.  As it cools, it will get a little thicker.  If you find it too thin, use a little COLD water to achieve desired consistency.

This mayonnaise emulsion-based mustard sauce is great with Stone Crabs, but it’s really good anywhere you want to use an aioli or other jazzed up mayo.  I like it as a spread on sandwiches, with Carpaccio, in Mac Salad, Potato Salad.  It has quite a bit of Umami to it, not only because of the Hondashi and the Fish Sauce, but because of the Mustard.

Even though Umami is usually associated with seafood and MSG, it is easily incorporated into non-seafood dishes without “staining” their natural flavors–it adds that savory WOW factor.