Mop sauce is a thin liquid used to baste a food cooking over low heat to keep it moist, for long periods of time. During cooking, food is literally “mopped” with this sauce to prevent it from drying out and to enhance flavor. It can be served at the table as well.
Gullah Country Moppin’ Sauce: (makes 2 quarts)
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
One 8-ounce can tomato juice
Five 1/4-inch-wide paper-thin slices of lemon rind (only the yellow rind, not the white pith)
1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black peppercorns
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
Dash of hot pepper sauce
Whole Roasted Fish with Gullah Country Moppin’ Sauce:
Three 1 1/2 pound dressed trouts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 lemons, each sliced into 4 rings
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup Gullah Country Moppin’ Sauce (store-bought or homemade)
Make the Gullah Country Moppin’ Sauce: whisk the ingredients together in a sauce pot over medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool. Store this mopping sauce refrigerated in a jar for up to six months.
Make the trout: preheat the oven to 400°F. Pat the fish dry inside and out with paper towels. Make 3 diagonal cuts through the skin on each side of the fish and place on a rimmed sheet pan. Generously and evenly pour the olive oil over the fish. Season the fish inside and out with the cayenne pepper (or paprika), garlic powder, salt, and turmeric. Gently stuff the thyme sprigs and lemon rings into the fish’s belly. Scatter the tomatoes in the pan and pour the Gullah Country Moppin’ Sauce over the fish.
Roast the fish for 25 to 30 minutes, basting every 8 to 10 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 140°F. Remove the fish from the oven and serve immediately.