Whisk Wednesday: Class 13

2 07 2008

Class 13 focuses on another emulsion sauce…mayonnaise. An extremely simple recipe requiring minimal ingredients, it mostly requires elbow grease or shoulder power for the whisking. Our mayonnaise will be used to bind together the ingredients in our Salade Messidor…or Summer Harvest Salad.

I’ve decided one thing I don’t particularly care for in French cooking is the methodical cutting of vegetables. I’m a little looser than that…to a degree, and prefer a more rustic preparation. Still…much like being a voice in a choir, I’m not the director, I’m learning. And learn I shall, if it annoys the stuffin’ outta me! That having been said, I truly understand the reasoning. Uniform sized pieces ensure uniform cooking and texture. Disclaimers aside, I dutifully cut my green beans into 1 inch long pieces, and my celery into 1/4 inch by 1 inch pieces, and diced my tomato in 1/4 inch dice, after peeling and seeding said tomatoes. I don’t know why the cauliflower needed a acid bath (vinegar in water), but…it required and received one. I think I cooked my green beans a little too hot, or a little too long. They weren’t crisp, but more on the tender side. When all my little pieces were ready, I did the mis en place for the mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise…usually taken from a jar. Hubster is very partial to his mayonnaise, so this was a bit of a challenge for us. It’s Best Foods/Hellman’s or it’s not. I wasn’t too sure how this was going to go over. I was careful to select a neutral tasting oil, but caved a little to a olive-canola blend. Neutral in flavor, it worked out fine. I cut the recipes in half as much as I could….there are only two of us here after all! When everything was together, the whisking commenced. This is my 2nd emulsion sauce this week, so my arm is in good shape. The sauce was yellow-gold for the longest time, and soft. About the time I ran out of oil, the sauce started standing up nice and thick. Woo-hoo! But taste? Like oil. Blech. This is where the vinegar and seasonings come in. After a few whisks of vinegar, behold! The classic creamy white mayonnaise appears! Oh happy day! A few more whisks, a little of this and that, and behold! Mayonnaise it is!


I folded the veggies together with the mayonnaise…not expecting much of anything. With no seasonings, I was afraid this was going to be very bland…and unexciting. Not true! The different veggies all had a nice cool texture and crunch from the cauliflower, and dressed with the simple mayonnaise, it was great.

Since I had conquered the technique on the artichokes in the previous lesson, I cut these artichokes in half lengthwise and steamed them under pressure until they were done. I cleaned away the choke and inner leaves, leaving a hollow for the salade. The salade mounded nicely in the artichoke, and then flowed out onto the plate. A touch of fresh chives (I love my garden!) and we were ready to eat. Ok…pictures first!

Salade Messidor

We ate the salad along with the artichoke leaves…and it was all pretty wonderful. Just the thing for a hot summer night. Hubster suggested the addition of salad shrimp…ooooh…I think that’s worth doing this again for! Maybe instead of quite so much vinegar, I could whisk in a bit of lemon juice instead. And top the salad with fresh dill rather than chives…

Thanks so much to Shari from Whisk Wednesday… I love this group! I say that now…but I look at next week, and I cringe…just a little… Mussel soup?? I’m not terribly fond of mussels, and they aren’t very easy to get here…I’m sure something will work out! LOL! Until we whisk again!

Note from Thursday evening…
We had salad left from Wednesday, and had a long, long day Thursday…the kind that beg for something light for supper because it is so late, so we had the remaining Salade Messidor combined with salad shrimp mixed with a little lemon juice and dill weed.  Score!  I thought it was quite good to start with, but the addition of lemon and shrimp was wonderful.  And it made “fixing” supper easy!