With Assistant Editor Jess Kapadia out on vacation this week, we’re rerunning some of her best What To Eat: Lunch columns.
In my ever-eager quest to master the midday break, I’ve found that one condiment appears to have an unfair monopoly in the lunch food realm: mayonnaise. I’ve watched people order it willy-nilly on sandwiches, untempered by mustard’s acidic bite. I’ve seen it drown macaroni and call itself salad. I’ve heard of people deep-frying it, people other than Paula Deen, then dipping it in more mayo. I love mayo enough to make my own on a fairly regular basis, as it’s easy as mayo pie (something that also exists, apparently). But I discovered by accident that Greek yogurt is…dare I even say…a contender for the position. As if mayo needed further debating.
I suggested several not-boring variations on classic chicken salad last week, and maintain that Greek yogurt does indeed surpass mayo as a binding agent in this capacity. Tuna salad, not so much. The flaky texture of the tuna is lost in the yogurt’s thickness, plus yogurt curdles pretty fast at the heat necessary to make a tuna blob. Deviled eggs, on the other hand, as well as their egg salad kin, get a major flavor and texture boost from Greek yogurt’s tanginess and thickness. Other findings (feel free to agree or disagree):
- Potato salad: Yogurt
- Coleslaw: Yogurt
- BLT: Mayo, definitely mayo
- Lobster rolls: Mayo
- White sauce on halal cart haul: Yogurt
- Shrimp salad: Yogurt
- Fish tacos: Yogurt
And then there’s the recipe that benefits from both: my homemade seafood salad, not to be confused with the utter crap at the deli counter. Equal parts of mayo and Greek yogurt strike the perfect balance of creamy and fat.
Experiment with mayo, yogurt or a combination of both. Just remember that yogurt doesn’t like to be heated and mayo should be kept as cool as possible to avoid summer barbeque syndrome. A great place to start would be adding a schmear of the Greek stuff on your turkey sandwich. Bonus points if you add bacon — just because yogurt’s healthy doesn’t mean it doesn’t like crunchy pig. They get along just fine.