dimanche 21 juillet 2013

The holy grail

Or how to make mayonnaise. Which I can't. At all. Ever. No matter how hard I try. So I have delegated this particular culinary episode to two of the most important men in my life (with apologies to Toby - no idea if you can make mayonnaise - and my father - who makes a mean mayonnaise but didn't happen to be present last Sunday evening): my husband Emmanuel and Paul Bocuse.

Now, as hard as it may seem to imagine this, there is a strong bond linking these two unlikely souls. Paul Bocuse gave a signed copy of his classic book "dans votre cuisine" to Emmanuel's mother in 1982 and this chef d'oeuvre has somehow found its way into Emmanuel's hands and hence, into our kitchen. He mainly uses if for crêpe making but last week we had an everso large bag of prawns from our friend Guy (see my previous adventures in linguine alle vongole land) which necessitated fresh mayonnaise. Knowing that any attempts on my part to turn an egg and some oil into anything vaguely edible were unlikely to meet with success, Emmanuel stepped up to the challenge. Masterfully.

When I asked him how he had conjured up what was quite frankly the best mayonnaise I have ever eaten on his first attempt, he looked at me rather oddly. Beginner's luck was his first thought; following the recipe his second. I would add patience to this list of culinary virtues, not least because it is something I have none of which might explain why my mayonnaise always resembles curdled vinaigrette... So, without further ado, here is my faithfully translated and transcribed recipe for mayonnaise, according to Paul Bocuse.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
2 glasses of olive or groundnut oil
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
2 soup spoons of wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

At least one hour prior to commencing the preparation of your mayonnaise, ensure that any refrigerated ingredients have been removed from the fridge so as to be at room temperature.

Place the egg yolk in a bowl, add the mustard and half a spoon of vinegar. Mix with a metal whisk or a wooden spoon. Add the oil in a constant stream whilst whisking. If the mayonnaise becomes too thick, add a little more vinegar and continue to whisk in the oil until there is none left. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Beware! The mayonnaise should not be prepared in advance nor placed in the fridge. So there.

Kate, Paris, July