Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mayonnaise and Two Variations

Eating cold chicken isn’t everyone’s idea of delicious, but when you have the right sauce to go with it, it can be quite a treat. For lunches this week, I brined and roasted a couple of chicken breasts and thinly sliced up the meat to make sandwiches. I love roasted chicken, as you know from my previous posts, and brining always produces a moist and flavorful result, even if you’re using white meat. I also cook chicken breasts with the skin and bones on because there is always more flavor that way. The meat tends to be dry and bland otherwise for my taste.

For my sandwich spreads, I started with a basic mayonnaise recipe. I had good quality leftover eggs from last week and this was a good way to use them up – waste not, want not. For ease, I make mayo in my bright red kitchen-aid mixer, though I have made it by hand. Just taking that mixer off the shelf makes me happy and seeing the whisk attachment whipping up creamy mayo makes my mouth water in anticipation. It’s easy to do and I make it two cups at a time. Here’s my method:
  1. Combine two eggs, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt, and a dash of vinegar in the mixing bowl and start the mixer on low with the whisk attachment.
  2. Once those ingredients are well blended, increase the speed of the mixer to the highest setting.
  3. Slowly add vegetable or canola oil in a thin steady stream. If you add it too quickly, the emulsion will separate. You can always save it by adding a little more mustard or vinegar, but it’s best just to take your time.
  4. Each egg will hold up to one cup of oil, so for two eggs, use two cups, and so on. Continue to whip on high until the mayonnaise reaches the desired consistency.
  5. Taste for seasoning, and correct with salt, pepper, and lemon juice if necessary.
I made the first variation by simply adding freshly chopped tarragon and minced garlic. As the mayo hangs out in the fridge, the garlic flavor will become more intense which I know Dan loves. The fresh green flavor of the tarragon balances out the pungent sweetness of the garlic quite nicely. You could use just about any fresh leafy herb that you like such as parsley, cilantro, or dill. Avoid “stemmy” things like rosemary and thyme however unless you grind them to a find powder in a food processor.

The second mayo variation was an attempt to match the flavor of Cain’s famous dipping sauce. Raisin’ Cain’s is a chicken strip joint that is based in my hometown of Baton Rouge that has recently opened a branch here in Boston near BU. It’s been a big hit so far with the students and with Dan who has a chicken finger obsession. I added ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, parsley, and horseradish to my basic mayo. It was nice to use all of those condiments that otherwise just sit in my fridge until we eat burgers and dogs on the 4th of July. The result was sweet, spicy, sour, and extremely satisfying. We call it Remoulade back home, although it has little to do with the classic Remoulade of France. It’s delicious on just about anything. One of my favorite summer indulgences is a salad made with shrimp, iceberg lettuce topped with plenty of this version of Remoulade sauce.

A lot of people dismiss mayonnaise because they haven’t had the real thing before. Making it at home will change your mind, and if you use a little creativity, you’ll be surprised at how versatile it is. Open up your pantry and use those spices that have been sitting around forever. You can put it on just about any meat or vegetable and you’ll be amazed at how delicious it makes them taste.

Bon appétit!

No comments:

Post a Comment