Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Comeback Sauce from Jackson, Mississippi

Learn more about the Mississippi phenom known as “Comeback Sauce,” a mixture of predominantly Thousand Island dressing and rémoulade.

The History of the Jackson, Mississippi, restaurant business can be told by tracking the proliferation of one condiment - comeback sauce.

New Orleans has Creole sauce, North Carolina has vinegar-based barbecue sauce, Tennessee has tomato-based barbecue sauce, and Texas has salsa. Mississippi has comeback sauce. It is the Queen Mother of all Mississippi condiments, the offspring of the incestuous marriage of Thousand Island dressing and remoulade.

Comeback sauce has its roots planted deeply in Jackson's Greek community. Like that of many towns throughout the South, Jackson's early culinary heritage is filled with Greek restaurateurs. They immigrated to this country during the early 20th century, worked impossible hours, overcame considerable odds, and opened small cafes staffed mostly by family members who had also made their way over looking for their slice of the American dream.

The culinary paradox of the situation is that many of today's American-born Greek restaurateurs aren't serving Greek food. Instead, they are focusing on new-Southern cuisine and seafood.

A number of Jackson restaurants offer comeback sauce. Some offer the standard assortment of condiments. All offer great food, good times, and plenty of Southern culture.

Recipe courtesy of Robert St. John

Yield 3 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup cottonseed oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, grated
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

In the work bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients. Process until mixed well.

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