In the Kitchen // Condiments
Make your dishes stand out by spicing up everyday condiments
By Pasquale "Pat" Bruno

Ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise are the holy trinity of condiments. In fact, they are so widely used we often take them for granted. Squirt some mustard on a hot dog, slather ketchup or mayonnaise on a burger and the job is done. But how about giving that burger or sandwich an extra kick? And then there is that whole arena of spreads and dips. Add some zip to your dips or some sizzle to your spreads and you’ve opened a Pandora’s box of interesting dimensions in flavor.

How simple is this –– add a drop or three of hot sauce to ketchup to fire up some interest in a burger. One of the trendiest condiments right now is sriracha, a hot chili sauce conveniently sold in a bottle. One easy way to ramp up chicken wings to another level of interest is to add a squirt (to taste) of sriracha to your wing sauce and watch what happens.

Mayonnaise is one of those condiments that offers a spectrum of flavor possibilities. For example, many basic recipes for an aioli suggest making your own mayonnaise. Forget it. Mayonnaise straight out of the jar is all you need to get a delicious aioli up and running. Simply add a drop or two of fresh lemon juice and some crushed garlic to mayonnaise and you have a terrific tasting aioli that can be used on a chicken sandwich or spread over a piece of fish.

Here is a very tasty dipping sauce for French fries:

1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons mayonnaise

In a small mixing bowl, combine the ingredients and mix well. Chill covered.

And here is a very special dipping sauce to use with cooked or raw vegetables, fried zucchini sticks, fried calamari or cooked shrimp. In other words a versatile sauce that knows no bounds:

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoons Dijon or honey mustard
Hot sauce or sriracha, to taste

In a mixing bowl, combine and whisk together all of the ingredients. Cover and chill.

Add a dash or two of prepared horseradish to ketchup straight out of the jar and you have a fine-tasting cocktail sauce to serve with shrimp or fried calamari.

Cajun dipping sauce
for fried onion rings or French fries

½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon ketchup u

Pat Bruno is Pizza Today’s resident chef and a regular contributor. He is the former owner and operator of a prominent Italian cooking school in Chicago and is a food critic for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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