Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fries with Mentaiko Mayo Dipping Sauce

Karashi Mentaiko (or usually just called mentaiko) is spicy marinated fermented fish roe (normally cod or pollock) that is a specialty of Kyushu that I introduced as part of my chronicle on my 2014 visit to Japan. Now you may be thinking that there's no way in hell I can marry American tastes with a Japanese product that is as funky, spicy, and fishy as mentaiko. Let me introduce you to my secret weapon: mentaiko mayo.

Mentaiko mayo takes the assertive fish roe and turns it into something creamy and delicious while still maintaining that zing and pop.

photo cred: Creamy Steaks
Mentaiko mayo is so popular there's even a mentaiko mayo Cheetos flavor in Japan, and I'm absurdly disappointed I have not seen or tried it (see here for a review) I love mentaiko mayo's versatility and I believe you will too. It's super easy to whip up, and once you do I think you'll find yourself spreading it on everything.

Some easy ways to enjoy it: spread it on top of baked salmon and broil to finish, mix it in with canned tuna instead of plain mayo for more of a pop, even smear it in a sandwich. But my favorite has to be as a dipping sauce for fries.

One of my local izakayas, Honda Ya, serves it with their fries and it's a superb alternative to ranch or ketchup. I love it with a sprinkle of lemon juice over piping-hot fries.

This is another recipe so easy I don't think it's a recipe so much as an idea-share. If you find that you want more mentaiko, just reduce the amount of mayo. If you don't feel like making your own fries, feel free to pick up some McDonald's and dip away!

Fries with Mentaiko Mayo Dipping Sauce

1 mentaiko egg sac
1/4 cup mayonaise (I prefer the kewpie brand for this purpose)
squeeze of lemon to taste
Nori, shredded into fine strips or furikake
Oven baked fries, prepared as directed

Remove the mentaiko eggs from the sac they are encased in and discard the sac. It will be a very thin membrane; I find the best way to accomplish this is to cut a slit in it and crumble the roe out. Mix the roe with the mayo, then taste and add a tiny squeeze of lemon if you'd like.

After you prepare the fries, sprinkle with the nori or the furikake. Serve piping hot with the mentaiko mayo with a lemon slice on the side for those of us who want to sprinkle lemon on their fries as well.

See also:
Jalapeño Cheese Age-Gyoza
Yakimochi
Shoyu Tamago

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