Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Le Ventre du Nord / Borealis Books: Sounds Like a Good Team

Le Ventre du Nord ("The Belly of the North"), Trout Caviar's tagline, is a sort double pun that I was quite pleased to hit upon, expressing as it does the sense of eating up the northland, in a francophilic way.

It combines Le Ventre de Paris ("The Belly of Paris")--Emile Zola's epithet for the sprawling Les Halles market that used to cover a good chunk of the Right Bank in central Paris--with L'Etoile du Nord ("The Star of the North")--the Minnesota state motto. (I should find a way to get the Wisconsin state motto in there, too, I know; I'll work on that.)

And borealis, that means "of the north," or maybe just "northern," as aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, is "northern dawn." It's a great name for a publisher like Borealis Books, the trade imprint of the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

The ultimate significance of this whole thing is that Borealis Books is going to publish the Trout Caviar book, recipes, essays, photographs, based upon this here blog.

I'm pleased as all get-out to announce this news, and very grateful to Shannon Pennefeather and Pam McClanahan at Borealis and MHS Press, who started checking out the blog a while back and thought there might be potential for a book in it.

I'm slightly terrified, too, since though the book will not be published until fall of 2011, I've got just a few short months to pull everything together. Mainly it's very exciting, and I'm really looking forward to having a chance to show off the splendid foods of our cold (and, lately, not so cold...) climate. Not that I haven't been doing that already. But this is going to be a book, you know, an actual honest-to-god book. That's different. And really, really cool.

Anybody wanna help test some recipes...?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wrapping Up the Ramps

We're coming to the end of the ramps season. I won't promise not to mention them again till next spring, but I'm eager to move on to asparagus, salads, and more summery things. It's probably true that ramps are a little over-hyped, and, in the stores, a little overpriced. For a wild foods enthusiast, though, they are also a genuine reason to celebrate--the first of the year's seasonal wild foods, delicious, abundant, versatile. I'll jump on that bandwagon.

In an "average" year we would probably be picking ramps into early June, but an extremely warm April got the ramps up and going, and now that the plants are sending up flower stalks the greens start to die back. You can still dig up the bulbs through the summer and fall, if you know how to find them, but I feel they're definitely best as a ritual of spring.

I unearthed a nice sackful of ramps last week for a last blast rampage. The greens weren't much good, but the bulbs were nice and plump. My main project for the season's last ramps was to try pickling a couple pounds of them. I should know by now that small-batch pickling is as easy as making a pot of soup, but still for some reason I find the prospect daunting. In fact, for these ramps pickled more or less following David (Momofuku) Chang's recipe, the hardest part was cleaning and trimming the ramps. This brine is lovely; it's a near-perfect balance of sweet, sour, and salt. Chang's recipe calls for rice wine vinegar, but to give it that Bide-A-Wee twist I used some of our own apple cider vinegar. Good quality unpasteurized cider vinegar is available in bulk at many co-ops.

2 cups water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
scant 2 Tbsp salt
2 small dried red chilies, seeds removed (or leave them in if you want more heat)
1 tsp black peppercorns

Cleaned ramp bulbs with a couple inches of the stem left on

I had a pound and a half of cleaned ramp bulbs, which filled two tightly packed pints with quite a bit of brine left over. Two pounds of ramps would make three pints without being compulsive about packing efficiency. Leftover brine can be used to pickle something else.

Combine all the ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for a minute or two. Line up the ramps prettily in the jar. Make sure each jar gets a bit of chili and a few peppercorns. Pour brine over the ramps to cover. Refrigerate.

Having never made these before, I'm not sure how long it will take for the ramps to become fully pickled. A couple of weeks at least, I'm sure. Refrigerated, they should keep for a few months.

I didn't wait to use mine. The very night I made them they went into two preparations. The first was a dangerously appealing "ramp-a-tini," a couple ounces of gin, capful of dry vermouth, twist of lemon, and around a teaspoon of the pickled ramps brine. Finish off with a garnish of a pickled ramp.

I sipped one of those while we put together a simple but delicious dinner of grilled pork steaks served over baby garden greens tossed with a creamy pickled ramp dressing.* To wit:

2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp pickled ramp brine
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 pickled ramp bulbs, chopped fairly fine
2 tsp oil (something neutral like canola or sunflower)
salt and pepper to taste

Just mix it all together well and toss it with some hearty young greens. Our salad bowl this night contained frisée, red kale, baby turnip and red mustard greens, arugula, some lettuce. You don't want to do this very delicate lettuces. Here's what ours looked like:

Topped with your simply grilled pork steak, it should look like this:

And finally, the formula for the maple-ramp glaze I mentioned last post. In a small saucepan combine:

1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped ramps--you can use the whole thing, whites and greens, if the greens are still nice; and, I haven't made it with pickled ramps, but I don't see why that wouldn't be good

Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Use it to glaze grilled chicken or pork toward the end of the cooking time. For the chicken pictured below, I added about a teaspoon of chili paste (sambal) to the glaze.


This dressing was also inspired by a Momofuku recipe, for a buttermilk ranch dressing with pickled ramps, but the first time I made it I just used raw ramps. To make it that way, omit the brine, of course, and increase the vinegar to 2 teaspoons rather than 1 1/2; also add a couple of good pinches of sugar, or to taste.

Text and photos copyright 2010 by Brett Laidlaw

Friday, May 14, 2010

Grilled Trout, Fiddleheads and Ramps in Nettles-Bacon Broth, Part Two: Get an Idea, Make the Dish

Truth be told, I am not all that adventurous of an eater. That might seem like a strange statement coming from someone who has consumed duck tongues, veal head, pig ear, lamb heart, whitefish livers, snake, woodcock, yak, trout roe (and milt), snails, whelks, winkles; beef lung, chicken feet, tripe, kidneys, and "silk workers' brains." And a lot of other weird stuff. (The silk workers' brains, cervelle de canuts, that's actually fresh cheese, a specialty of Lyon.)

But the thing is, I don't really seek out weird foods. They just seem to find me, and when they do, I feel obliged to at least have a bite. My most fundamental inclination, though, is that I want to eat things that are delicious. If something strikes me as likely not to be delicious, I'm hesitant to even try it. Hence, my long-delayed embrace of nettles.

For years I've been seeing recipes for nettles, and I've read that they're a springtime tradition, a seasonal tonic, yada yada yada. I certainly have no trouble finding nettles. To the contrary, by midsummer along the streams I fish, in the woods where I forage, nettles, both the stinging and the wood varieties, are almost impossible to avoid. Maybe it's because they're so prolific that I've taken them for granted. Maybe it's because most of the nettles recipes I've seen involve so much egg, milk, butter, and cream, and so little nettle that their contribution to the dish seems to come down to the fact that they are green.

Well, regardless of all that, I've taken it upon myself to explore the culinary possibilities of nettles, and I'm happy to have done so. Stinging nettles, as a vegetable, can be a little fibrous, tough and stringy. Where they really contribute is in the uniquely green, deep, savory flavor they bring to a soup, a stock, or a long-cooked dish like the
lamb with nettles and ramps I made earlier this spring.

I had a mental picture of this dish that involved three key seasonal ingredients--trout, ramps, and fiddleheads--prepared very simply, and united by a sauce that shouldn't be too rich or saucy, more of a broth, or a nage, to be quite cheffy and pretentious about it. With stinging nettles growing under the apple trees just down the path from Bide-A-Wee, I knew they would be part of it. And some ramp greens added to the broth would tie things together nicely, too.

That was a good, woodsy base for my broth-sauce, but it seemed a little thin. It needed something rich and maybe meaty to give it backbone. The answer came to me right away: bacon. Or rather, a nice chunk of rind from my homemade bacon. Almost concurrent with that inspiration, I also thought: "Hey, doesn't David (Momofuku) Chang use some kind of
bacon 'dashi'?" And so he does, and it's nothing more than good bacon simmered with some kombu seaweed. So the nettles and ramps would be my inland seaweed, and the Bide-A-Wee dashi was born.

I pinched off the top six inches from about 15 nettles plants, rinsed the leaves, chopped them coarsely, and added them to three cups of water. I added the chopped greens of three or four ramps, and about a three-by-three-inch square of bacon rind, diced. If you don't have rind of home-smoked bacon, use maybe three strips of good quality bacon. I brought it to a boil and simmered it for around an hour, then turned it off and just let it sit while I made the other preparations.

The trout got salt and pepper and a little oil to keep it from sticking on the grill. The ramps and fiddleheads went naked to the grill, and halfway through I glazed them with a reduction of maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and soy sauce flavored with more ramps greens. In the end I felt the glaze was somewhat superfluous in this dish, though by itself it was great, and I'll use it again, on pork or chicken probably.

While the fish and veg were grilling I brought the broth up to heat again and strained it. It didn't taste like much at that point, but then I started to reduce it, and it really came together. When there was about a half to two-thirds of a cup left I swirled in a couple teaspoons of butter, added a pinch of salt and some pepper.

With a glass of our own cider fizzing companionably at my elbow, the dogs asleep on the floor, I sat down to my bachelor dinner. The trout was exquisite, and the broth was superb. It took up a little extra saltiness and sweetness as the glaze dissolved off the vegetables. The fiddleheads were perfectly tender-crisp, the ramps more crisp than tender, but still good. (I had grilled some slices of pheasantback mushroom, too, but those weren't so great on the grill, so let's pretend that they're not there.)

I really should have lingered over each bite, but it was so good, I was so hungry, and there was no one to talk to. I scarfed it down.

Text and photos copyright 2010 by Brett Laidlaw

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Grilled Trout, Fiddleheads, and Ramps in Nettles-Bacon Broth, Part One: Catch a Trout

Overcast days are fine for trout fishing, and rainy days can be even better. It's May, time for mayflies, which do not emerge only during May, but it's fitting to take advantage of their appearances in their namesake month.

Cloudy, drizzly days early and late in the season are prime time for a miniscule class of mayflies that fly fishers generally describe as "blue-winged olives." Lots of bugs are clustered under this heading; what most have in common is that their newly emerged wings have a dull, slatey blue-gray appearance, and their bodies are usually a dark olive green. And they are small. Tiny. Even an experienced fisherman, seeing swallows swarming above the stream, and fish rising avidly, can fail to perceive what all the fuss is about until he crouches to examine the river's surface.

There he will see a flotilla of lilliputian sailboats, the mayflies with their wings erect, actually standing on the surface film, their wee feet dimpling the surface. They may seem a little stunned at this sudden transition from their bottom-dwelling lives in the year-long nymph stage to the light and air and perils of an existence out of water. More likely they are just waiting for their wings to dry, which may take a while in cool, damp conditions.

While they wait they are subject to having their famously ephemeral lifespans truncated even further. The nymphs have waited underwater a year for their chance at airborne glory, and a date night (which, however much fun it might be while it lasts, is bound to end badly); the birds and the trout have been waiting for this moment, too, but for them it means it's time to strap on the feedbag.

On the day that I brought home this trout, a 12-inch brown, just legal, the blue-winged olives began to emerge in late afternoon under a cold drizzling rain. They couldn't get off the water at all, it seemed, and the swallows were in a frenzy. Usually you will see these thrilling flyers picking the mayflies out of the air as they rise from the river's surface. This day, with no flies flying, the swallows had to adapt their strategy. Instead of working an airborne circuit over the water, they appeared to be dancing in place, hovering and bobbing down to snatch the flies from the surface. It was remarkable, breathtaking, a little comical, as well.

From below, the trout took advantage. You wouldn't think that big trout would bother much with tiny flies, but they do. It doesn't matter that the flies are tiny, because there are lots and lots of them, and the picking is easy, and who knows when you'll get a chance to eat again? Because trout are always hungry, and opportunistic, that's why we can catch them on our poor imitations of nature's handiwork.

From a fly box I took out a dry fly, size 18 "Cap's Hairwing" variant. The hook on a fly this size is about 1/4-inch long. The shank of it, the straight part on top to which one can attach the materials meant to mimic a natural fly, is probably just over 1/8-inch. Onto this minimal space I had attached, with black 8/0 thread: a wing and a tail made of deer hair; a gray body of muskrat under-fur; and the hackle--fancy chicken feathers, two of them, brown and grizzly (black and white), a combination called Adams after a famous dry fly, of which mine is a variation, wound around the hook so the barbs stand out, imitating the insect's legs, more or less, letting the fly sit above the water the way a dun--the newly emerged mayfly--does.

An 18 is a small fly for me. The smallest I've tied is a 24 (higher number, smaller hook), and I've only done a few of those. When I finish tying a well-proportioned size 18 fly, I feel accomplished, like I've done really fine and delicate work. People who don't fly fish are always impressed when you show them a fly that small. They think you're some kind of Einstein of the tying bench.

But when you look at the artificial fly next to the natural--Lo, how Clumsy is the Hand of Man, compared to Great Nature's Art! When I looked at the fineness, the intricacy, the exquisite proportions of the blue-winged olives (probably of the genus baetis) emerging that day, well, I was a little embarassed to tie my poor handiwork to the end of my leader. Nor was I particularly hopeful, for, as small as it was, relative to most of the flies I tie, it was easily twice as big as the naturals. You might think, offhand, that that would be an advantage, but in the midst of a hatch trout do not take a "bigger is better" approach; they quickly figure out what the real food looks like and will often simply ignore an artificial that doesn't match. I've seen trout literally knock my fly out of the way to take a natural just beside it. That's annoying.

But sometimes, if your timing is right, your presentation proper, your casting adept and stealthy, you can fool one or two. That 12-inch brown was my best fish of the day, though trout kept rising even as I left the stream, and the swallows kept dancing, mayflies kept emerging; and I knew, stepping out of the water onto the wet grass in my clunky wading boots, that as much as I feel at home and at peace on these, my home waters, I would never be anything but a spectator, a tourist here.

Text and photos copyright 2010 by Brett Laidlaw

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Wild Bachelor Weekend

Mary hightailed it off to Iowa with her mom for a Mother's Day excursion this past weekend, leaving me to get as wild and crazy as I wanted. Well, as wild and crazy as you can get while tethered to a pair of griffons.

Strip clubs, all-night poker games, smoking cigars and shootin' pool! Yee-haw!

Right. I did get a little wild in the Bide-A-Wee "kitchen," though. Saturday night I put together a dish of pappardelle with "pheasantback" mushrooms, ramps, and watercress. (Sunday it was grilled brown trout, fiddleheads and ramps in a nettle-bacon broth; that's for next time.)

I often come across pheasantback (or "dryad's saddle," its more mythological title; what the hell is a dryad, again?) in the spring when I'm walking along the trout stream, or when I'm out on one of my usually futile morel hunts. This shelf-like polypore fungus often grows on dead elm trees, under which one will find morels, if one is lucky. But I consider myself lucky to find a pheasantback, too. For one, I find them beautiful. For two, they are quite edible.
Some 'shroomers agree with that assessment. Some don't. (Tom Volk belongs in the mushroom hall of fame if there is such a thing, but I think he must have only tried cooking really old pheasantbacks, to find them tough and rubbery.)

The pheasantback's distinctive aroma of watermelon rind is fascinating to note, but less compelling as a flavor on its own. So I like to add flavor to this mushroom in the cooking. A little bit of soy sauce adds depth of flavor--it's a cheat, maybe, but a good one. A nice young pheasantback has a wonderful texture, dense and silky at once, like many of its cousins in the polypore world, which includes the legendary cèpes or porcini. Polypore mushrooms emit their spores not through the gills you find on button mushrooms, portabello, and the like, but through those many little holes you see on the white underside. Poly- = many; -pore = pore. Get it? Polyporous squamosus is its Latin tag, which I believe means "scaly polypore."

To make the dish: But I want to go back a little first, describe how I got the cress.

I spend a lot of time on the road between our house in Saint Paul and the Bide-A-Wee cabin in Dunn County, Wisconsin. At its simplest, the trip to Bide-A-Wee (once we're on the freeway) involves exactly three roads (the freeway, a state highway, our town road) and four turns (left, right, left, right, you're there). And while the scenery is quite pleasant along that straightforward route, anything becomes a bit boring with repetition--and freeways are generally boring, anyway.

Sometimes I just want to get there or back as directly and quickly as possible, but mostly I like to vary the route. I'll turn off the main route at some point, to follow whim and scenery, county road to town road, paved to gravel, farmland to forest. Closer to the city the roads pretty much follow a grid pattern, but in the hilly land in eastern Saint Croix, Polk and Dunn Counties they take their path from the contours of the land, winding through pastoral valleys, following the course of this area's many streams and rivers. I would have thought that after more than three years of wandering the backroads of western Wisconsin on the way to and fro Bide-A-Wee, I would have exhausted all options; somehow, I keep finding more.

Saturday I found myself winding along a gravel road that curved past small dairy farms, woodlots, the odd patch of sugarbush. The road dipped under a low railroad trestle, just one lane there, and as I turned a blind corner I spotted ahead a telltale hump in the road--a culvert, a brook. As I crossed it I glanced down and saw water, so I stopped--sometimes these are dry runs, or just a trickle through the weeds.

This one was a sweetly flowing little creek, only a few feet wide, but clear and sparkling, and upstream of the culvert, in the middle of the stream, was a little island of watercress. I hopped down there and observed that a spring fed into the creek just there. I couldn't see far up it before the alder crowded in. I pinched some leaves from the tops of the plants I could easily reach, put them in a sack and climbed back up to the road.

I was about to get back in the car--the dogs were eager to know what I'd been up to, they'd worried about me, out there all by myself--when I noticed across the road a grassy path leading down a short distance into the woods. Intent on checking out the stream, I hadn't seen it before. Now I went over and walked down it (a little self-conscious, for I was trespassing, though there was no posting, and in Wisconsin none is required of landowners). The path ended just thirty feet off the road, at the source of the spring--pure, icy water flowing out through an aperture at the base of a little limestone cliff, just a sort of tall hummock, really, with moss growing on the damp exposed stone. From there the spring traveled fifty feet or so down to the creek, and for this whole length it was a carpet of dark green, glossy watercress.

I love springs, and spring creeks, and topography, and cress. It's hard for me to imagine a more charming natural scene than what I found there. I gathered a few more leaves (poached them, I guess, if you want to be technical about legalities) and went on my way.

The dish, then: I had thought I would use Chinese noodles, but we didn't have any. In the end the substitute pappardelle was a superior choice. I wanted something a little richer to add along with the mushroom, ramps, and cress: an egg. I beat up one egg, added some chopped ramp and cress leaves and a little salt, scrambled it very soft in butter.

Into that same pan went a little more butter and the chopped white parts of five or six small ramps. As they started to soften I tossed in the sliced pheasantback--no salt, because of the soy. Then as the mushrooms started to brown I splashed in a bit of soy--a couple teaspoons?--and also a bit of vinegar (I think it was some of our blackberry vinegar), a teaspoon, I'd say. Finally I added a couple good handfuls of coarsely chopped watercress. The cress gave off just enough liquid as it wilted to deglaze the pan and make a simple sauce.

The noodles I cooked to al dente ahead of time, and as the sauté was coming together I set the pan containing them on the side of the Haggis to warm(I needed a fire in the woodstove, it was going down into the twenties overnight!), loosened them with a little butter, flavored them with some salt, pepper, and a bit more chopped ramps greens and cress.

Serve out the noodles, top with all the veg, dollop the soft herby eggs around the sides. I would certainly make this again.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Grand Emulsion

I wish I had saved that "mon amour" bit from the previous post for this one, because while I like morels well enough, I really love mayonnaise. I suppose I could use a variation, like "Mayonnaise, je t'aime," but that would be weird, wouldn't it? Yeah, I guess it would. Not that that has ever stopped me before....

Learning to make a homemade mayonnaise is a milestone moment in anyone's cooking life, I think. When you learn to fix a broken one, then you really feel like a pro. The fact is, both making and fixing are easier than they seem; as with many, many things in life, confidence is key, and confidence comes with success, and success comes with practice. But even if you've never made mayonnaise before, and decide to try it, I urge you to go into it with confidence aplenty, be bloody bold and resolute, as a friend of mine used to say. While creating an emulsion of egg and oil in your very own kitchen might sound awfully daunting and technical, this is in fact one of those formerly everyday tasks that is simplicity itself once you've done it a couple of times. Well, a few times. And it helps if you're old enough that you don't really give a rip about that many things, like one used to, which I am, so my mayonnaise pretty much always turns out. Which I'm not sure is that great a trade-off for being in the over-50 set. But there you go.

I have not written much about mayonnaise here because the focus here is local, of course, and the main component of mayonnaise is oil. While I'm sure that there are canola and sunflower and corn oils made from reasonably local raw materials, these oils tend to come from large, industrial producers. I'll have to look around a little more carefully, see if there are smaller, local oil producers.*

For the moment, though, I'm going to forge ahead, because while my mayonnaise ingredients might not be notably local, it's going to be produced right here, and it's going to be flavored with herbs fresh from my garden, and used to dress a salad of trout I caught and watercress I plucked from a local spring. With a side of fiddleheads. This was much tastier than the photo might indicate.

The ingredients of mayonnaise are few and simple: egg, oil, a little mustard, prepared or dry, salt, lemon juice. Then flavorings as you please. (An important point here is that flavored mayonnaise is not "aioli," as many restaurant chefs seem to mistakenly believe; aioli is a quite specific Provencal preparation which could be called garlic mayonnaise, at least in some of its iterations, but aioli and mayonnaise are not synonymous by any means.)

Probably my favorite mayonnaise flavoring is fresh herbs, and in particular that combination that the French call fines herbes--parsley, tarragon, chives, and chervil. Chervil is a wonderful herb that hasn't yet caught on around these parts. If you want it, you pretty much have to grow it yourself, for I don't believe that I have ever seen it for sale in a grocery store or farmers market, though I have seen chervil plants for sale occasionally in the early spring. It's sort of like very, very delicate parsley with a lovely anise flavor, not too strong. It's not that hard to grow, except it really does not like hot weather, so in a hot dry summer it may wither and bolt if it's not kept a bit damp and cool. Currently I only have chives and tarragon in my garden, and that will do just fine.

The question of food safety often comes up in connection with any preparation using raw eggs. Supposedly raw eggs can contain salmonella. I have never heard of anyone getting sick from a raw or barely cooked egg. And I seriously would like to know, has anyone out there heard of this happening? Sometimes I think people get a little hysterical about things like this, spreading fears that have no actual basis. But if eating something that contains raw egg troubles you, do not make mayonnaise. Hellmann's is great, I love the stuff.

Here's my little mayonnaise pictorial tutorial:

You need a bowl big enough to move your whisk in briskly. The dish towel twisted into a rope, circled beneath the bowl, holds the bowl steady. I made two mayonnaises today, to see the effect of different oils and mustards. For the first I used some prepared dijon mustard, a scant teaspoon; the oil was 1/2 cup grapeseed and 1/4 cup olive oil--3/4 cup oil to one egg yolk is my standard ratio.

You whisk the yolk and mustard together until they're well combined and just a little thickened. (One advantage of using prepared mustard is that it is already an emulsion, which gets you off to a good start.) Now start adding oil, just a drop or two at a time. It's very important to go very slowly at the beginning. You want to whisk briskly and constantly, but you don't have to do it furiously. You'll get tired out and spew oil all over your kitchen if you do that.

By the time you've added a third of the oil, or less, you'll know if the emulsion is going to take. The whisk will leave clean streaks on the bottom of the bowl, you won't see any distinct oil droplets, it will feel thick as you whisk. If you've added a quarter cup of oil and this isn't the case, if instead it still seems very liquid and looks "split," with distinct pools of oil amid curds of egg, it's broken; see the note** below for how to fix it.

If all is coming together nicely, and you've added a third of the oil and things are thickening up, now you can add a couple of pinches of salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Then keep adding oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking as before, until all the oil is incorporated. If it becomes too thick to whisk comfortably along the way, add a little more lemon juice, or a tiny bit of water.

Canola-olive-dry mustard on the left, grapeseed-olive-prepared mustard on the right.

When it's done it will be thick and custardy. You can use it as a veggie dip, or to make a truly amazing potato salad, deviled eggs supreme. Homemade garlic mayonnaise stirred into mussels steamed in white wine is probably one of my favorite things to eat. Slather it on grilled bread. Eat it on a spoon. I do.

I wasn't that thrilled with the color of the first mayo, the one with prepared mustard and grapeseed oil. It seemed sort of dark and muddy. I made another using a quarter teaspoon of dry mustard and an oil combination that was 5/8 cup canola to 1/8 cup olive. It had a nicer color, to me. Both were delicious. You can use the mayo right away, but it's better if you let it sit, covered, in the fridge for a couple of hours, to let the flavors come together.


* (Dang me if I didn't just locate a source for Minnesota extra virgin sunflower oil; I have just ordered a bottle. Will report.)
** To fix a split mayonnaise, get a clean bowl and in it put two teaspoons of water. Start whisking the split mayo into the water, like a quarter teaspoon at a time. Soon you should see an emulsion forming, and you can add the rest of the split mayo, then the rest of the oil, as above.

Text and photos copyright 2010 by Brett Laidlaw