I know I love my boyfriend because I put up with food-related behaviours that I would consider unacceptable coming from any other man. (I support women no matter what they eat.) He is, unfortunately, a Ketchup Guy. Puts it on everything. Puts it on steak. Puts it on perfect steak that I cook perfectly.
Loving a Ketchup Guy means letting go of ego, control, and a little bit of self-respect. I like ketchup — I think Heinz Ketchup is a flawless finishing sauce — but it does have a tendency to mask more subtle and delicate flavours. Watching someone pour it on a perfectly cooked steak is painful, though ultimately it is none my business what someone does with the food I make after I serve it to them. (We have, however, landed on a “try it without ketchup first” compromise, and he has deemed many dishes to be so good “they don’t even need ketchup.”)
Steak fries, however, calls for a sauce, particularly the “fries” portion of the dish. If, like me, you simply cannot bring yourself to put ketchup on a plate that also contains steak, consider this two-ingredient horseradish cream, which is nothing more than prepared horseradish and mayo mixed together.
I realise this may not seem that much more elevated than ketchup, but if you’ve ever been served “horseradish aioli” at a steakhouse, you were probably eating some version of this combination. (Even though aioli is not “fancy mayonnaise.”) Using mayo as a dipping sauce is also very European, and the flavour of horseradish flashes and fades, unlike ketchup, which coats your tastebuds and lingers on the palate. Beyond steak, horseradish mayo is equally at home on a plate of sweet potato fries, which would be marred by ketchup.
Making this sauce is simple. I never measure, but I usually end up with a ratio of 1 part prepared horseradish and 2 parts mayo, though that is quite potent. Start by adding teaspoons at a time, tasting with a fry as you go, until you reach that perfect, sinus-clearing spot. Enjoy with steak fries, sweet potato fries, or just plain fries.