No mysteries here - the word crudités translates exactly as ‘raw things’, and here we mean vegetables. They must evidently be fresh, crunchy - and preferably decorative. I like to leave the green stalks on wherever possible – e.g. on the carrots and radishes – as much for ease of handling as for decoration. You can use any of the following – carrots, endives, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, peppers of all colours etc.etc. I like to finish with a scattering of shelled hard-boiled quails’ eggs. It can be served with any of a variety of dips; in this case, a vinaigrette, a tapenade, and a mayonnaise. It’s great with drinks, or as a first course.
2 egg yolks – at room temperature
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
500 ml olive oil
Juice of half a lemon, or 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a medium-sized bowl or mortar, balloon-whisk the egg yolks together.
2. Add the mustard, the salt and the pepper, and whisk.
3. Carefully begin to add olive oil – drop-by-drop initially – whisking constantly; this is the critical stage – if the mayonnaise is going to separate, it’s now that it will happen, so take it slowly.
4. Once it has ‘taken’ and starts to thicken, the oil can be added marginally quicker, but still with care.
5. When all the oil has gone in, and the mixture has thickened nicely, add the lemon juice, or vinegar and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
"It has always been an absolute requirement of Patrick’s that any mayonnaise served on board has to be home-made, and as close to his mother’s as possible. I believe I may just about have equalled her on quality but with modern technology – and much to Patrick’s delight – I have been able to far surpass her on quantity. I used to watch her laboriously making as much as she was able in a mortar using a wooden spoon, adding the olive oil drop by drop; in a quarter of an hour she might produce a paltry 150gm – never nearly enough!
Here, I’ve described the traditional method, albeit substituting a balloon-whisk for the more authentic wooden spoon. However, with my little blender I can produce 5 times that in a tenth of the time. I have to say she was as delighted as her son and embraced the new technology with alacrity.
When using a blender, the same care needs to be taken with the rate at which you add the olive oil, though of course this can be proportionately quicker than when doing it by hand.
Regardless of the much-disputed origins of the name, mayonnaise for me is the quintessential French sauce."