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Still Life with Lemons I
Wilson, C. C.
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La Belle Cuisine
French are credited with refining the sophisticated art of sauce-making.
It was the 19th-century French chef Antonin Carême who evolved
an intricate methodology by which hundreds of sauces were classified
under one of five
Béchamel (basic white
Hollandaise and Mayonnaise
(from The New Food Lover's Companion
by Sharon Tyler Herbst)
The Way to Cook
Julia Child, 1994, Alfred A. Knopf
“Handmade mayonnaise was one
gastronomic delight that many home cooks
were afraid to tackle until the
appearance of the electric blender before World
War II, and until Anne Seranne came up with the first foolproof machine-made mayonnaise. Now we
have the food processor, and mayonnaise is even easier to make by machine
– though maybe no easier to scrape out! If you’ve not tried it
processor you’ll find, after a batch or two, that you will confidently
up half a quart or more of that thoroughly addictive sauce in under
5 minutes. Perhaps the following notes will tell you more than you wish to
know, but it
may build up your confidence to have some idea of how things
the oil slowly at first.
is an emulsion, meaning that egg yolks are forced to absorb oil and
hold it in a thick creamy suspension. For the emulsion process to take
you first process the yolks to thicken them, which prepares them
for the oil to
come. Then you process in the oil a little bit at a time at
first, to get the emul-
sion going. When the mixture has begun to cream and
thicken you have won;
you can add the oil a little more rapidly and all is
well as long as you do not
exceed the limit that the egg yolks can absorb
– 2/3 cup per yolk. Another
caution – do not stop the machine until
the emulsion is well under way or
the sauce may refuse to thicken.
plastic vs. the metal blade
metal blade is so efficient that it often makes too stiff a sauce, and
want to thin it out. The shorter dull-edged plastic blade,
however, which is a
little slower in action and takes a little longer to
thicken the sauce, gives a
more tender result – if you can call a sauce
oil to use
is the mayonnaise to accompany? Cold lobster or crab, for instance,
want a light oil, neutral in taste, with perhaps just a dribble of olive
oil for flavor.
A salad strong with garlic and onions, on the other hand,
take, and even need, more pronounced tastes. For an all-purpose
sauce, as an
example, I use half to
two-thirds peanut oil and the rest is
virgin olive oil.
Using the food processor
beauty of your own mayonnaise is that you know exactly what is
you can use the best and freshest oil, lemon, and/or vinegar.
For 2 to 2
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon-type prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
and/or wine vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 cups best-quality oil – peanut,
olive or other oil –
or a mixture
Freshly ground white pepper
More mustard, salt, lemon juice and/or vinegar, as needed
Droplets of sour cream, sweet cream, or water –
to lighten the
sauce if it is too thick
Equipment Suggested: A
food processor (the plastic
blade is recommended but not essential); a
pouring funnel is useful.
egg base: Place the whole egg. the yolks, and the teaspoon of mustard
in the container of the processor; process 30 seconds with a plastic
15 with the steel blade. Add the salt and lemon juice and/or
process 15 seconds with the plastic blade; 7 or 8 with the
the oil: With the machine running, start adding the oil, pouring it in
a thin stream of droplets – keep your eye on the stream to be sure it is
in very slowly. Keep the machine always running, and when you see
the sauce has thickened, you may add the oil a little faster. Stop
the machine after 1 1/2 cups or so of oil, and check on the sauce: if it
seems very thick, add droplets of lemon juice or vinegar, and taste it for
seasoning. (You do not need
to use all the oil; if you like a yellower sauce, for instance, 1 1/2 cups
may be sufficient. Continue with the oil if you plan to use it all.
flavoring: Taste the sauce carefully for seasoning, briefly processing
in more as necessary. If the sauce is too stiff or thick, process in
of cream or water.
Aïoli (Garlic Mayonnaise)
by Patricia Wells, 1989,
Workman Publishing Co., Inc.
"Aioli intoxicates gently, fills
the body with warmth, and the soul
with enthusiasm. In its essence it
concentrates the strength, the
gaiety of Provence: sunshine."
~ Frederic Mistral
is an authentic Provençal aïoli, which needs to be made from
garlic cloves. If you do not have a large mortar and pestle,
you can crush
garlic and salt together to a paste with the flat side
of a knife and
aïoli with a whisk or electric hand mixer.
Don’t use a food
processor: The aïoli
be too much like glue.”
6 large fresh garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature *
1 cup (25 cl) extra-virgin olive oil
1. Peel and cut the garlic in half, then remove the green,
“germ” that runs lengthwise through the center of the garlic.
2. Pour boiling water into a large mortar to warm it; discard the water
dry the mortar. Place the garlic and salt in the mortar and mash
evenly with a pestle to form a paste.
3. Add 1 egg yolk. Stir, pressing slowly and evenly with the pestle,
in the same direction, to thoroughly blend the garlic and
yolk. Add the
second yolk and repeat until well blended.
4. Very slowly work in the oil, drop by drop, until the mixture thickens.
Gradually, whisk in the remaining oil in a slow, thin stream until the
is thickened to a mayonnaise consistency.
Yield: About 1 cup (25 cl)
More on mayonnaise and its variations
from "The Cook and the Gardener"
Eudora Welty on mayonnaise...
and variations, storing, trouble-shooting,
cooked egg mayonnaise.
Index - Basic Sauces
Classic French Recipe
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