Monday, May 11, 2015

Fried Brussels Sprouts With Spicy Broad Bean Mayo

Spicy Broad Bean Mayo Y'All!!

Man, mayo's a funny condiment. Just by itself, it is so pedestrian (but tasty, don't get me wrong). As soon as you toss in another angle, though, whether that's ketchup, garlic, herbs, chipotle, sriracha, or anchovies and dill (or some combination things), and suddenly it's an amazing, savory, supercondiment.

Well, if you like sriracha mayo and/or chipotle mayo, definitely give my variation a shot: spicy broad bean paste (la douban jiang) mixed with mayo! It's a great smoothly earthy, slightly spicy, savory iteration of the magnificent mayo mixes.

Pictured above, I've smeared a dollop of the mix on a plate with some fried Brussels sprouts, which are a great pairing. Actually, this is a simple variation on one of my favorite dishes: fried Brussels sprouts with anchovy and dill mayonnaise, which I once had at the great Red Hen restaurant in DC. There might have been one or two more ingredients involved, but they were of lesser import.

As for the Brussels sprouts, well, as I've mentioned a number of times, I'm loathe to deep-fry, since it wastes so much oil unless you deep-fry a lot. So I shallow-fried mine, cut-side down, and it worked out pretty well. I tried just frying it on one side to see if there'd be a nice textural contrast. I don't know though—it probably would have been best either frying a little longer or frying on both sides. I'll play with it some more in the future.

Your choice of fat for frying adds more nuance: instead of neutral canola oil, consider peanut oil (if it doesn't bother allergies) or pork fat, etc.

[Updated] Tip: use a high-sided pot to deep-fry, since the sprouts will sputter a lot. This will cut down by a lot the amount of oil droplets flying out at you, compared with deep-frying them in a wok. As with deep-frying generally, you want your ingredients to be dry to minimize sputtering, but fresh, unbattered vegetables will sputter because of all the water content they hold.

Spicy Broad Bean Mayo

1 part spicy broad bean paste (la douban jiang)
3 parts mayo (or amount to taste)
(optional minced garlic)

Combine ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.

—same as making sriracha mayo or chipotle mayo. Spicy broad bean paste can be tough to find. You'll want to look for a Chinese supermarket.


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