Take a moment to think about what's in the door of your refrigerator. Chances are that it's jam-packed with condiments: a couple of varieties of mustard, maybe some hot sauce, and probably a few others.
The French have their white sauce, Italians marinara, but in America, it's all about the condiments.
What's the best one? Well, there are as many opinions on this as there are condiments. The Association for Dressings and Sauces' Condiments and Sauces Attitude & Usage Consumer Survey conducted in November 2016 found that in many cases, it's not just a matter of personal tastes, but regional affinities as well. If you're curious about what condiment dominates the fridge doors in other parts of the country, join us for a quick, delicious, recipe-filled road trip.
1. The Northeast loves horseradish
People in the Northeast need a little kick to make it through the winter. Sometimes they need a lot of it, and that's why the sinus-clearing, kick-in-the-pants flavor of horseradish is so popular up here. This cracker spread is great at any gathering — and might make a few horseradish converts out of your guests.
Recipe: Chipped beef cracker spread
3 1/2 oz. dried chipped beef
2 Tbsp. butter
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tsp. yellow mustard
1/4 C. deli-style horseradish sauce
1/2 C. green onions, finely chopped
Finely chop the chipped beef and sauté in butter until frizzled.
Mix together the cream cheese, yellow mustard and horseradish sauce until it's smooth and creamy.
Stir the chipped beef and green onions into the cheese mixture.
Spoon the spread into a serving dish and chill before serving. Serve with assorted crackers.
2. The Midwest is slightly obsessed with their barbecue sauce
Would America be as great as it is without barbecue sauce? Maybe. But that's a big maybe. Tangy, sweet, spicy and mild, there's an astonishing variety of barbecue sauces out there, one for each mood, you might say. No matter what you're hungry for, these brisket sliders will hit the spot and make you curious to branch out into the wide world of barbecue sauces.
Recipe: Brisket sliders with pickled red onion and white cheddar cheese
For the brisket:
3 lbs. beef brisket
1 can (16 oz.) beef broth, low sodium
Salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F. Season brisket with salt and black pepper. Place in a medium casserole dish and roast in oven for 30 minutes. Add beef broth, cover with foil and reduce the temperature to 300 F. Cook for two hours until just tender. Set aside to cool before slicing.
For the pickled red onions:
3 large red onions, sliced thinly in rounds
2 C. red wine vinegar
3/4 C. granulated white sugar
2 Tbsp. salt
Combine red wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Mix well until sugar is dissolved. Cover sliced onions with the vinegar mixture and set aside. Let stand at least 30 minutes.
Assemble the 12 sliders:
Garlic Sriracha BBQ Sauce
1 dozen potato rolls
12 slices of white cheddar cheese
Slice the brisket thinly across the grain and coat generously with the Garlic Sriracha BBQ Sauce. Slice the potato rolls in half and toast lightly. Place cheese on bottom half of the roll. Place a few slices of the brisket on the cheese and top with pickled red onions. Place on the top of the roll and enjoy!
3. Livin' the easy life down south, sippin' on a bottle of hot sauce
Sometimes it gets so hot you need to turn up the heat a bit to sweat it out and cool down. Thus the love affair people in the south have with hot sauce. The heat can take some getting used to, and a lot of southerners seem to have been nursed with the stuff. But once you get into the hot sauce spirit, it becomes an addiction. Here's a great seafood entree to convince you.
Recipe: Grilled shrimp with remoulade sauce
3/4 C. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. ketchup
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. hot sauce
2 tsp. capers, chopped
1 tsp. parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 C. water
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 whole peppercorns
24 shrimp (8 to 10 count) peeled and deveined
For the remoulade sauce, whisk mayonnaise, ketchup, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, capers and parsley in small bowl. Season with black pepper. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Can be prepared 2 days ahead.
Combine water, salt, sugar, lemon juice, garlic and peppercorns in gallon-size bag. Add shrimp and chill 15-20 minutes. Drain shrimp and rinse with cold water. Place shrimp on skewers.
Preheat grill to medium high heat. Spray grill grates with cooking spray and grill shrimp 2-3 minutes per side. Serve immediately with remoulade sauce.
4. The west looks over the ocean for Asian sauces
Soy sauce has been a staple on many American tables for some time now, but in the past few decades, new Asian flavors found in Sriracha, teriyaki, fish sauce and more have become common in many kitchens, particularly on the West Coast. The fusion of American and Asian flavors opens up some exciting possibilities, as seen in this recipe for Thai shrimp salad in mini phyllo cups.
Recipe: Thai shrimp salad in mini phyllo cups
1 1/2 C. frozen shrimp, thawed, pre-cooked and chopped
3 dozen premade frozen mini phyllo cups
3/4 C. ranch dressing
3 Tbsp. coconut milk
1 Tbsp. ginger puree
1 Tbsp. red pepper, diced
2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
Diced red pepper
Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine all ingredients to make the dressing, add chopped shrimp and refrigerate for one hour.
Thaw mini phyllo cups and sprinkle each cup with Parmesan cheese, place phyllo cups on a cookie sheet and bake just until the cheese melts. Remove from oven and let cool.
Add a heaping spoon of Thai shrimp in each cup and top with diced red pepper. Makes 3 dozen cups.
There are a lot more condiments out there, and a lot more flavors to explore. For more culinary inspiration, visit the recipe section of the Association for Dressings and Sauces.