Sunday 13 April 2014

Sauce Verte

Before I get started celebrating the virtues of my new favourite sauce, I feel that some small measure of profuse apology is in order. Regular readers may have noticed a recent lack of updates to the blog of late.

Although no doubt, general cause for celebration amongst the masses, I also believe that there are a handful of misguided individuals out there that have felt genuine loss at my lack of output. To these unhappy few, I’m sorry for leaving a gaping ‘Essex Eating’ shaped void in your lives and promise never to leave you devoid of my dubious pleasures again.

Basically, I’ve been notably less than prolific for a number of reasons. There was the upheaval of moving home, then the seemingly interminable ballache of getting broadband installed (this still hasn’t happened, I’m writing this in a local cafĂ©) Oh and finally a hefty dose of good old writers block. I’ve still been eating out in restaurants, cooking and drinking enough for a whole crowd of gluttons, but just couldn’t find that spark within me to write about it. I’ve no idea why, I probably caught it off a toilet seat, honest.

Anyway, that was then, this is now. I’m back in the saddle. Leaner, fitter, hungrier and mungously brainier. So, turn those frowns upside down, organise a parade, drink a pint of gin or two in celebration (Plymouth obviously) and let the good times roll, you lucky bastardos.

So, Sauce Verte. The French green sauce. I’ve recently discovered this via the venerable Simon Hopkinson, basically aioli pimped with seemingly every herb in existence. The combination of garlic, lemon and fresh herbs is superb. It goes particularly well with fish, but is also pretty damn nice with boiled potatoes and chargrilled vegetables, such as asparagus.

First, make your aioli base.

You’ll need:-

2 egg yolks
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Salt & Pepper
300-450ml Olive Oil
Although I find just using just olive oil too rasping and peppery, as well as frigging expensive, so cut it with vegetable oil in whatever proportions your budget and taste deems appropriate.  
Juice of 1 Lemon

You can make it with a whisk, but despite my obviously muscular physique, I’m a notoriously lazy bastard so use a hand blender, in a tall beaker that just fits over the tip of your err…blending rod, or whatever its called.

First make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.

Beat the egg yolks with the garlic and a little salt, until thick.

Add the oil, but just a trickle at a time. Too much and it’ll split.

Add a little lemon juice, and then some more oil, alternating a little at a time, incorporating it before adding more, patience is key. Carry on till both are all used up.

At some point, if the mayonnaise gods are smiling on you, it will have come together and you’ll have a pot of luscious, thick gunk. If they’re not, as is nearly always the case with me, you’ll have thin split mess. If this is the case, don’t panic.

Get another pot, with a couple of egg yolks. Start again, this time carefully trickling your split mess into the egg yolks as you thrash away with the blender or whisk. It should come right this time. If it doesn’t, sorry but you are truly f*cked. Curse the gods of mayo. Tip it into the bin and accept it isn’t your day and go buy a jar of Hellmans.

But of course, everything has gone right and you’re marvelling at a quivering pot of homemade, garlic tinged mayonnaise.

Now to turn it into Sauce Verte. For this, you might consider wearing a beret, but this step is entirely optional.

You’ll need:-

A bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only
A bunch of watercress, leaves only
4 tarragon sprigs, leaves only
4 mint sprigs, leaves only
10 basil leaves
2 anchovy fillets

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, throw in the parsley and watercress leaves, stir and drain. Rinse them with cold water and squeeze dry in a tea towel. Chop them until extremely fine.

Then, in a frenzy of extremely fine chopping, get to work on everything else and stir the lot into your mayonnaise base. Season carefully and stir in a little extra lemon juice if you think it needs it.

Sauce Verte. Done.


Unknown said...

thank god you're back...

Eleanorjane said...

Good to have you back!

I'm not going to be making my own mayo, but I could well pep up a good quality bought one with some extra herby noms.

Also, we popped into the new Italian place, Bella Vista on Victoria St. near Castle Park - very nice. Check it out and tell us what you think!

Wai Yee Hong said...

We missed you! This sounds like my ideal fridge-raid food; dipping cold leftover new potatoes in sauce verte and scoffing the lot. :-)

Fiona Beckett said...

Great sauce, specially with salmon. Keep posting!

Joe @ One Handed Toast said...

Pimping aioli with all these great herbs sounds wonderful. I add herbs to homemade mayo but you're going a step further. Also agree about not going full in with olive oil when Mayo making, especially with all the subtly herby flavours.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Blending rod *teehee*!

I find making mayonnaise with a wooden spoon easier than a whisk, don't know why.

Dan said...

Belleau Kitchen - Exactly the exclamation of profound relief I was looking for ;)

Eleanorjane - Thanks very much. Nothing wrong with using bought mayo, although there is something strangely alchemical about making your own. I'll give it a look, cheers.

Wai Yee Hong - Thanks and yep, couldn't agree more, perfect fridge fodder.

Fiona - Will do :)

Joe - If you try it, let me know what you think.

Alice - Blending rod, ha, yeah I have no idea what to call it. A wooden spoon you say? now that is something worth trying.