Picnic Food for Summer and Eating Cold
One of the best things about summer is eating cold, and eating picnic food, when you don’t want to stand over a hot stove. If you have some good bread, charcuterie, a bit of cheese, and some nice vegetables you really don’t need anything else. Except for a bottle of wine – a Provencal rose or a rough red served slightly chilled is perfect.
Something luxurious for this type of meal is this dish of white asparagus with chive mayonnaise. The asparagus is cooked in the same manner as this recipe, except no butter is used in the cooking as it is eaten cold. This is of course equally good with green asparagus.
Real mayonnaise should be made with extra virgin olive oil, which makes for a relatively expensive sauce as you must use a very good oil for it to taste good. I tend to use regular sunflower oil which produces a very creamy mayonnaise. Perfect for this sort of dish. The nice thing about mayonnaise is you can flavour it with what you want. Whether that be another soft herb or flavoured vinegar.
It is also not difficult to make. Even if it does split, it is easy to rectify. Simply start again with another egg yolk in another bowl, and gradually add the split mixture to it as you would the oil. It helps if the bowl and egg are both at room temperature. This recipe makes plenty of mayonnaise, but the quantities can easily be multiplied. It is in fact easier to make mayonnaise in larger quantities as it doesn’t split so easily.
Lots of people make mayonnaise in a food processor, which is great as it is so easy. However, you get a more stiff jelly like sauce, rather than smooth and voluptuous when it is done by hand.
1 egg yolk
roughly 100ml sunflower oil
1 generous tsp dijon mustard
half a lemon
pinch of sea salt
small bunch chives, finely sliced
Take a heavy bowl so it doesn’t career about the work surface. Add the egg yolk, mustard and salt. Whisking all the time, very slowly add the oil in a steady stream until it is all incorporated. The amount of oil you use depends on the size of the yolk but 100ml usually produces a good thick sauce. Now add a good squeeze of lemon to taste, you probably won’t need all of it. Stir in the herbs.