December 24th, 2009

French Fries and the Art of La Bonne Mayonnaise

family-picture-2009-721Ho, Ho, Ho and it is the Christmas holidays. I spent last night worrying whether or not we would come down with Salmonella during the night all because I couldn’t resist making mayo.  I go through this mental torture yearly when I pull out the deep fat fryer and decide that for a week, we can have beignets, French fries, and funnel cakes to our hearts’ desire.  Actually it is not very good at all for our hearts and probably takes our bodies a month to recuperate.  Of course, when I make the French fries, I’ve got to eat them with real mayonnaise, not that bizarre white stuff you buy in the store.  And OF COURSE, I make mine with a raw egg which means I stay up all night long worrying if I have poisoned the family.  But once again, we escaped any evil consequences.  And it tastes SO GOOD, especially with rib-eye steak, and a green salad with shallot vinaigrette.

Now I have had a SHITTY month – Mom broke her rib on a fall, and Suzanne crashed Mémé’s (grandmother) car.  So all that I have done for the past 2 weeks, is to put out fires and act as a nursemaid.  In the meanwhile there is also all the holiday stuff I’ve managed not to do such as holiday cards, holiday news letter and finish up packing 5 care boxes that will be shipped to Afghanistan.  And guess what we are doing today – cookies – which means between that and the Christmas Eve dinner, I’ll have 2 hours cleaning up my kitchen.  But what the hey, it’s the holidays.

Back to French fries, here is my take on making great fries and of course, the mayo recipe.  In previous years, I’ve tried making my own fries and tried all types of potatoes, tediously cutting them, putting them in ice water, trying sugar, trying the freezer trick to find out that all that labor intensive crap, isn’t worth it if you have a den of lion cubs and a husband waiting to be fed.  So now I just go out and buy a bag of pre-cut frozen fries, and toss them into my fryer.  Five minutes later, perfect golden fries that immediately get devoured by the family.  Don’t use olive oil in your deep fryer, I mostly use canola or vegetable.  If I want to splurge, I’ll use peanut oil (I adore peanut oil for frying and for mayo).  So here is the skinny on mayo.

La Bonne Mayonnaise – 5 minutes to make, all night to worry

fries-pleaseNo whisking for me, I find that mayo is fool-proof in the food processor.  I’ve tried it in the blender, but the mayo came out hard, like lard.  The food processor (metal blade) makes it creamy.  Also I’m not crazy about the taste of mayo using olive oil, I prefer vegetable or peanut oil, but since I have tons of olive oil in the pantry and little of anything else, olive oil it will be.  So I’ll add a pressed or finely chopped clove of garlic or a tablespoon of a nice Dijon mustard to soften the taste.  The ratio (I always work in ratios so I can memorize recipes) is 1/1/1.5 which means for every egg, you add on tablespoon of acid – vinegar or lemon juice and drizzle slowly 1 ½ cups of oil.  In the same ratio you can add 1 clove of garlic (minced, pressed of finely chopped) or one of mustard.  The trick with mayo is to process for 3 seconds of the food processor all your ingredients except the oil, which gets slowly drizzled afterwards into the mixture while the food processor is working.

INGREDIENTS

1 egg – try to get eggs from a reputable source so you don’t spend the night worrying about your family and guests.

1 tablespoon of an acid such as freshly squeezed lemon juice or white vinegar – I used white balsamic vinegar from Trader Joe’s

2 dashes of salt

1 dash of pepper

1 ½ cup of oil

1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard of 1 clove of finely chopped, minced or pressed garlic if desired

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor, blend for 3 seconds the egg, vinegar, salt & pepper, using the metal blade .

Slowly drizzle in the oil while the food processor is on (this takes several minutes).  Taste, and add garlic or Dijon mustard if desired.  Makes over 1 ½ cups of mayonnaise which I serve in small ramekins.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes From All of Us to You for 2010.


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