We give the devil his due. I mean, everyone knows who the devil is whether he’s an ex-lover or ex-friend, a boss of special evilness or just a particularly vexing detail; even if we mean the angel of light or prince of darkness, we know about the devil in his more obvious guises. So when we say deviled eggs or ham, we understand that we’re talking about food that’s zesty, piquant, or spicy. Though if you ask me, most deviled eggs don’t truly earn the name. If I had my way, the only foods that would be called devilish would be ones that carried a Scoville rating for their inferno-like, spicy heat.
In my mind, other foods where something simple gets all dressed up – like the mild, but beloved stuffed eggs that grace my family reunions – should take their titular cues from a very special sauce that graces many a southern table, especially if there’s a ham on it: Jezebel Sauce.
The sauce is named for one of the Old Testament’s wicked royals who had a particularly sticky end that involved some harsh prophecy from Elijah, a crowd, a horse, and a pack of stray dogs. You can read the whole story in the 1st and 2nd Book of Kings. For our purposes, the important part of that story is that just before [spoiler alert] she was thrown out of the palace window, “she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out…” And thus the name of Jezebel has forever been linked to women (of course) who are overly made-up, women of loose morals, or any poor gal who fall on the wrong side of the patriarchal standards for approved feminine demeanor and appearance. Isn’t that nice?
In food terms, the word refers to a sauce base, usually something wholesome like apple, peach or pineapple preserves that gets all tarted up with the addition of lots of horseradish, yellow mustard, and some black pepper, too. It functions much in the same way that chutney and other relishes do – it adds additional sweetness and savor along with a mighty kick. In fact some original recipes call for so much mustard and horseradish that in addition to making your eyes water and your nose run, it was potent enough to make you spout steam from your ears.
We aren’t interested in seeing you spout steam from your ears, as fascinating as that might be. But we do think it’s a fine sauce to add to the roster of great Southern accents for living. In fact, it’s essential to a very famous Southern hors d’oeuvres – a Triscuit smeared with cream cheese topped with a dollop of Jezebel. But we’re more likely to recommend it with pork, especially in the form of breakfast sausage on biscuit with Monterey Jack cheese – which is exactly how we’ll be serving it at the Tomato Head this weekend. If you’d like to learn more, Mahasti will be taking to the airwaves to share her own delicious take on Jezebel Sauce – so we invite all of you boys and girls to paint your eyes, fix your hair and tune in to WBIR’s Weekend Today to get saucy with us!
4 cups Pineapple tidbits, drained
2 large granny smith apples, cored and diced
1 1/2 cups of the pineapple juice, (you can add apple juice to make up the difference if you don’t have enough apple juice)
2 Tbl prepared Horseradish
1/4 cup Yellow Mustard
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Place all ingredients in a pot over medium heat. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until apples are soft. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender or cool then puree in a blender.
You can serve the sauce hot, or chilled. Will keep in the refrigerator for quite a while.