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Secret Seafood Sauce: mayo + water?

I saw Bayliss do this on one if his PBS shows (IIRC something about a street vendor food cart at the beach), and I thought I also read it on one of these boards, but could not find it again.
You just take a couple of big spoons of mayo and add water until it becomes like heavy cream. Boy, was it good not to mention simple. It is one of the best 'secret' recipes I have stumbled onto in quite a while.
We had some baked salmon. Kraft mayo + water + a few fresh oregano leaves. Also, we tried a mexican hot sauce and some fresh ground pepper instead of oregano. I now have a 'standard' seafood/fish sauce for this summer.
I can see also sorts of possibilites: add whatever flavor, herb, spice is at hand. Funny thing, it does not taste like mayo anymore. It is rich and creamy but not overly so, with just a faint hint of acid.

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  1. Kind of reminded me of Whisky Sauce. Back home we eat Whisky sauce with shrimp, all it is is Ketchup, myo and a shot of whisky. Needs to look light pink, very tasty!

    1. I like to use lemon juice instead of water. Very lemony and creamy. Great on fish, and FABULOUS with steamed artichokes - though I use less liquid in this case. Any herb addition is a plus (tarragon is my favorite, if I have it). It's about the only time I eat mayo anymore, and it's worth keeping a jar around for! (Though, personally, I prefer Hellman's over Kraft - I love the eggy taste.)


      2 Replies
      1. re: AnneInMpls

        Yes! This is my standard dip for crab, lobster, artichokes -- just mayo with plenty of lemon, till it's pretty runny. I'll have to dry an herb addition.

        1. re: AnneInMpls

          For cold leftover salmon mayo with lemon juice or mayo with mustard really hits the spot! For warm cooked salmon I prefer just a little butter and lemon juice.

        2. Simple variations I add:
          1. finely chopped canned chipotles and lime juice:

          2. Sesame oil, and hot chile pepper powder

          3. Cilantro chutney

          4. Wasabi

          1. You can also make a good sesame/garlic salad dressing by blending the water, toasted sesame seeds, fresh garlic, and a bit of ginger together in a food processor/blender, then add to the mayo.

            7 Replies
            1. re: hannaone

              I'm thinking adding garlic/chili paste would be good too. How did I ever miss the mayo-water trick? Although I do a "cheater's" ailoi....mayo, lemon juice, pressed garlic which I thought was my own invention until recently.

              1. re: Gio

                It is good.
                You can do a lot with mayo + water/juice + xxx
                Try some poppy seed, honey, and lemon juice.

                1. re: hannaone

                  I recently bought some of this season's Grade B maple syrup in Vermont....
                  I wonder......better not get too carried away, huh?

                  1. re: Gio

                    I dunno. I had the same thought about black strap molasses and really fatty, 'junk' fish (spanish mackeral, saba) that have been grilled with lots of black edges, like I had in Hawaii a few years ago. There are some recipes for salmon that use a glaze that includes honey or maple syrup.

                    1. re: jerry i h

                      Yes, I frequently use maple syrup as a glaze for salmon and as an ingredient for marinades, but mixed with mayo? I dunno. Of course I'll try it and see.... Black strap molasses, hmm... my mother used that as a health food.

                      1. re: Gio

                        Mix the maple syrup with home made or plain yogurt rather than mayo.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          i agree with sam , mix with yogurt - honey, maple syrup, mollasess, dark agave - any of the above - smear on fish and grill - particularly oil tasting fish - like bluefish..amazing on salmon - i made a "glaze" of yogurt,dark agave, and very ripe avocado, soy and rice wine vinegar - so good - avocado acts much like mayo would

            2. One of my favorite sushi restos uses a no fat mayo / sesame oil concoction that they pour over a few of their creations. One of my favorites, aburiyaki le, is a nigiri with green asparagus and torched salmon on top, then drizzled with that dressing and topped with sesame seeds ---- yowza.

              2 Replies
              1. re: linguafood

                Hmm... I'm trying to parse the phrase "no fat mayo / sesame oil concoction" and having trouble. It can't be "no fat (mayo / sesame oil)" because oil is by definition fat. But how can it be "(no fat mayo) / sesame oil" when mayo is pretty much nothing but oil plus egg?

                1. re: BobB

                  Well, Bob -- the only thing I can tell ya is what the sushi chef told me: fat-free mayo with sesame oil. I guess I missed a dash... I am ready to reproduce this concoction with regular mayo as I am not a fan of no-fat stuff.

              2. Do this with catsup or mayo and horseradish.

                1. You can go a step in a different direction - cook the fish with the mayo. Saveur had a recipe a year or so ago in which you basically very lightly coat fish with soy sauce, let sit 20 min. or so, put in a baking dish, spread mayo over & bake. Initially it just seemed too..something, but I decided to try it and it is really delicious. If I was teaching a novice how to cook fish I'd start there. It is very forgiving, fish stays moist as can be & tastes wonderful. No one would ever guess what the secret ingredient is!

                  This is now my "go to" recipe when I have fish but feel utterly drained of energy - and sometimes I make it even when I'm feeling perky!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: meatn3

                    Back in the 70's, there was a great recipe for fish filets coated with mayo, then rolled in wheat germ (or other starchy breading) and baked. It was truly wonderful! Of course it was tasty, with all that heart-stopping mayo. I've though of trying it with Greek-style yogurt in place of the mayo, but you can never go home again...


                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      I remember chicken dishes like that in the '70's! I need to try this with Vegenaise. I use it in place of mayo quite a bit, but I'm not sure how it would do heated.

                      1. re: AnneInMpls

                        Try eggplant slices schmeared with mayo then rolled in seasoned panko crumbs.....then layer as for eggplant parm. Yummmmm!!!!

                      2. re: meatn3

                        Anytime we grill mahi mahi or similar type of fish, we smear it with mayo first. Does not taste like mayo, just tastes awesome!

                      3. I add some softened (in boiling water) saffron to the mix. Great color and flavor. Some paprika as well.

                        1. I agree - mixing it with lots of lemon or lime juice - to a quite loose consistency, and then chucking in a large handfull of dill - perfect for a pasta salade made with cheese filled tortellonis/raviollis and seafood like shrimp og crayfishtails and veggies...

                          1. I didn't use water, but will try it in the future. Last night I had some crab cakes, and mixed light mayo plus Fischer & Wieser Sweet, Sour & Smokey Mustard Sauce. It was yummy!

                            1. Also try adding lemon juice with capers plus some of their juice and a little paprika. Great on salmon or any other fish. Oh, and if you can get it, use Duke's mayo - the best!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: saragro


                                Instead of ketchup on things, I put a teaspoon of mayo mixed with sofrito on say, a cheesesteak, spread on the roll. It's a lot better than one would think.

                              2. Fresh squeezed lemon juice, tomato sauce thinned out, and chopped cilantro. This is particularly good on white fish fillets (I like tilapia) baked with this sauce on top. YUM!

                                1. I use a Japanese Mayo called Kewpie, it has more vinegar in it than standard mayo and if you add some hot sauce like Sriracha you also have a wonderful tasty sushi sauce....sometimes I bake the fish with various mayo mixtures on it, especially soy....it chars and imparts a satisfying grilled like texture.