I went to sleep last night with a sweet tooth and woke up with a savory one. Does that ever happen to you? So scratch the blueberry pancakes I was going to make this morning. But savory breakfast options are somewhat limited at my house. There are no potatoes and even the bread I had to dig up from the freezer (yes, you can freeze bread and then defrost it in the microwave before you toast it. It tastes the same, I swear). But I really wanted something egg-y and since the shiitake mushrooms had been sitting in the fridge for so long, I decided to whip something up on the fly.
The first time I had wasabi was actually at home and it wasn’t with sushi. In fact, sushi was one of those smitten foods that I’d look at in disgust up until junior year of college. I remember when Stern took us out to Ruby Foo’s during my freshman year and a huge platter (like 50 pieces of sushi) arrived. Seven pairs of eyes around me started bulging out in anticipation while one pair essentially said, “Ugh, disgusting.” Most people use wasabi sparingly, taking a tiny grain sized portion and mixing it into soy sauce/ponzu, as if the specks of green are there to give the soy sauce some green freckles. But at home, I first had it with sashimi. My mother likes to take a whopping chunk, to the point where the ratio between wasabi and soy sauce is greater than 1. I experienced that insane tug up against my nose when I inhaled the wasabi, unsure what to expect. It was as if someone was having a wrestling match up in my nose and the round would only end with time. Man, I love that feeling.
Awhile ago, I got this jar of wasabi mayo at Trader Joe’s. I could spread it on slices of bread and be perfectly happy for breakfast and lunch. When I ran out of it a few weeks ago, I quickly made some of my own with regular mayo and some wasabi powder. Maybe it doesn’t have the same finesse as the Trader Joe’s jar, but it still works really well. Spread it on some toast, sautee some mushrooms, and fry an egg. You’ve got yourself a hearty breakfast. That insane feeling you get up your nose is a bit mitigated with the wasabi mayo, but still lingers in your nose.
Wasabi Mayo (the quick way)
- 3 tablespoons any good mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon wasabi powder
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
Note: For some people, 1 tablespoon of wasabi powder may be too much. In fact, many recipes call for only 1/4 tablespoon of wasabi powder for every 3 tablespoons of mayo. I’d experiment in increments of 1/4 tablespoons and adjust until you’re satisfied.
In a bowl, mix in the mayo and lemon juice with a whisk. I use the lemon because supposedly the acidity will keep its shelf life longer (although using already made/processed mayo, I’m not sure how much validity there is to that belief). Then add the wasabi powder and beat lightly with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
Interestingly, did you know that the vinegar and lemon juice in mayo, which makes mayo acidic, prevents harmful bacteria from growing in it? So even though that potato salad of yours may seem to spoil under the sun and grow mold, you won’t get sick from it! Mayo unrefrigerated will develop a taste and smell that you definitely don’t want to ever encounter though…