Two words: artisanal mayonnaise. Many used it as an example of how hipsters have jumped the shark. I, however, knew I needed to try it. Mayonnaise is the nectar of the gods: fact. When I saw there was a ghost pepper flavor, ooh yes. Shut up and take my money. So, here I sit, happy in a cloud of my own elote flatulence.
The mayonnaise in question is from Empire Mayonnaise, a place I only-half-joked about wanting to swing by last month but couldn't figure out how to work into the schedule. It's a store dedicated to only mayonnaise, the best condiment ever created. On a scale of one to epic, that's a Tim Hortons that only sells freshly made, still-hot Timbits and never runs out of apple fritter 'bits. I ultimately ordered my little jar of mayo offline, but I still must go.
Store. Full. Of. Mayonnaise.
Ghost pepper holds a special place in my heart, too. One of my friends works in the food business with various companies, therefore, he's a living, breathing repository for all of my best bad ideas. That conversation usually goes like this:
Me: "You should convince [fancy mayonnaise company] to release a ghost chile version."
Me: "Why notttttt? It wouldn't be that hot. All the egg and stuff would neuter the heat, and ghost chile is delicious."
Him: "It'd never sell."
Me: "But I would buy it! Ghost chile mayo needs to be a thing!"
Him: "We've had this conversation before."
Super-fancy dinner table, a.k.a. box o' LeMons tools and parts.
Someone else finally did make an extremely spicy mayonnaise available for purchase, and all my dreams came true! 'Twas the artisanal mayonnaise store that became the butt of hipster jokes everywhere. It was out of stock the first time I looked, but wasn't about a week ago. My tasty treat finally came in the mail, so it was time to search for something mayonnaise-able and have at it.
Empire Mayonnaise describe their ghost pepper flavor as thus:
The ghost pepper aka Bhut Jolokia is one of the worlds hottest peppers - rated at more than 1 million Scoville heat units!
Scared? You should be. This stuff is made to melt brains. We had to wear gas masks while taming this beast and it was worth every painful second. Mayonnaise is the perfect vehicle for you to experience the flavor of this otherwise frightening pepper.
Use as you would hot sauce, pair this with some deviled eggs or juicy pork chops and brace yourself... a little goes a long way.
Every single part of this sounded relevant to my interests. I needed something to try it on and didn't have any sammich makins' in the house, so I went to Torchy's for an elote.
Elotes are delicious sweet corn in a cup. Many places use the same term for corn-on-the-cob, and while technically correct, the elote that I crave is the corn in a cup. Why? Because you can fill that cup up with enough mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, hot sauce and cayenne pepper to give a yak heart congestion and pretend you're Takumi with a cup of rice on the way back from the taco truck as you try not to spill it. "I am a driving god!" you'll yell, as you take your perfectly-globbed mayonnaise mountain out of the front cupholder. Well, either that or you'll be cleaning mayonnaise out of your seat. Alternately, because it comes in cups, the smart thing to do would be to ask for a lid.
Normally, I don't trust any food that retains its shape on the way out. Corn, you weird me out, and usually taste kind of meh, too. However, I make an exception for elotes because they're good.
Torchy's Tacos calls their elotes "street corn" (presumably because I'm feeling the need to explain what an elote is in the first place) and it comes pre-prepared, which sort of takes half the fun out of an elote. Only, well, they tend to scrimp on the ancho aioli, so I'd call it half-prepared more than anything. Who uses a fancy-schmancy aioli instead of a lukewarm squirt-bottle of Hill Country Fare that's been questionably sitting on a counter for who knows how long, anyway? Weirdos.
Anyway, this humble cup of corn was the perfect vehicle for trying out my new fluffy treat-sauce.
For better or for worse, I lucked out and got a bit more aioli on this cup of corn than most, but I still found some dry spots that were in need of mayonnaise-ification at the bottom.
This mayonnaise is delightfully thick, probably closest in texture to McCormick's mayonesa than anything else. It's fluffy and gloopy just like a good mayonnaise should be.
I ate a spoonful because why not? More attention was probably put into this one jar-let of mayonnaise than anything else I'll eat all week. There's only a hint of the smoky, vaguely sweet flavor of ghost pepper to start off with, and then it mellows out into a slow burn. Most of what you taste is the delightful mayo itself.
It wasn't the kick in the face I was expecting, but it would probably cause New Yorkers to sweat and cry, so I'll give them a pass on geography, or something. Instead, it was just good, and even better mixed in with the elote. Unlike a lot of Sriracha or chipotle mayo I've had, the mayonnaise is still the star. I tasted lots of the citrusy, tart mayo coming through despite the addition of ghost pepper. And yes, it does remind me a lot of the mayonesa you'd pick up in the Mexican aisle of the grocery store. Perfect for elote.
Ghost chile mayonnaise is a thing! A real thing! A thing that is purchasable that exists! And the world is a better place for it.
[Afterburn level, for the curious: minimal, although I did put off going to the gym for a little while after dinner, just in case. Slow burns take longer to phrrrt out than hot burns in my experience.]