Japanese horseradish is a small nubbly root with broad, ruffle-edged leaves that grows in marshy fields. The inland areas of the Izu Peninsula are known for their prized wasabi fields, which are irrigated by the cool mountain streams nearby. The sharp, clean zing of this fresh condiment has won many fans on both sides of the Pacific.
The fresh root is occasionally sold in the United States, but far more common is the dried and powdered form. Playing with the powder one day in my New York kitchen, I discovered it had the most amazing emulsifying properties when making mayonnaise. The resulting dressing had a delightful punch to it. I find wasabi mayonnaise to be incredibly versatile and use it to dress potatoes and other vegetables, seafood, poultry, beef, veal, and lamb.
In a clean, dry bowl combine the egg yolk, salt, rice vinegar, and horseradish. Whisk them together until well combined. Add the oil, drop by drop, beating vigorously as you add it. Keep adding the oil until you get a thick dressing. Whisk in the lime juice to thin the dressing to a proper consistency. Cover the mayonnaise with clear plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes before using. Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator.
© 1985 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.