Food, wine, travel, music
_mg_8512-red-peppers (pic Arna Runarsdottir)
The groundbreaking chef of the late 1970s Michel Guérard (now aged 83) brought out two books that made me sit up and take notice: Cuisine Minceur was the first Nouvelle Cuisine book that caught my eye. It had ‘slimming’ recipes the like of which annoyed people with their small portions and pretty pictures. I read more than cooked the recipes, but I have seen that the book has been relaunched for the more health conscious 2017s, and it makes a lot of sense.
I spent much more time making his recipes from Cuisine Gourmand (Macmillan Books) which delighted my friends when I cooked expensive ingredients. However, one of my most splashed pages is for an economical green lentil salad accompanied by toasts spread with anchovy. Delicious! And as for his Chocolate Marquise served with his coffee bean sauce and triangles of flaky pastry, I really must get back to it. I am slavering as I type. Happy days.
But back to anchovies: they play a part in his recipe for rouille, which as Guérard says is “The flavour of the Midi.” It is more time consuming that other mayonnaises, but for the sake of the extra few minutes hard boiling a few eggs, it’s worth it. The changes I made to his recipe for purely personal preference include doubling the quantity of anchovy. Added to fish soup, but also just about any soup that needs to be thickened or enriched, you cannot go wrong, and it can be used as a dip or spread for nibbles. There are other recipes on line that don’t include anchovies, but for me they don’t cut it.
2 hardboiled eggs, yolk only
4 anchovy fillets (from a jar or tin)
1 clove garlic, finely grated or crushed
1 teaspoon tomato purée
2 raw egg yolks
1 teaspoon mustard (don’t use grainy, you need the full fat of regular)
White pepper (black can be used, but the flecks don’t look so well)
250ml olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Half teaspoon harissa or 5cm fresh chilli
Pinch saffron (not essential)
Blend the hard boiled egg yolks with the anchovy fillets, garlic, chilli/harissa and tomato purée to a smooth mixture.
Make the mayonnaise as usual, starting with the raw egg yolks whisked together with the mustard, salt and pepper. Drip the olive oil until all of it is blended fully (this can be done in a liquidiser on low speed).
Add the anchovy mixture and blend well to finish and bring it to a smooth, thick, sauce, about the weight of a thick pancake batter.
Use on the side with the simplest fried fish or the most luxurious lobster or Dublin Bay prawns, Bouillabaisse. I added leftover sauce recently to a chunky salad made from beans and kale.