I’m a busy man, I don’t have time to separate my free-range, organic araucana eggs for homemade mayonnaise. In the cut and thrust world I live in I barely have time to put clothes on before I leave the house and take the children to school.*
Why not just buy a jar of mayonnaise I hear you ask? To be honest, it’s been a quiet couple of weeks here, so I blatantly have more time usual, hence the fresh bread issuing forth from the oven and the children eating proper food on the weekends and after school.
The reason I didn’t separate the eggs was to see what whole egg mayonnaise was like. And it’s pretty good, hardly different to the usual method. It’s just a little more liquid to begin with so emulsifying the oil takes a little more time, but in a food processor it’s easy. And it tastes so much better than a middle-class posh jar with French words and has the added benefit of having no stuff in it for a year on the shop shelf.
I found the remains of some wild garlic, flowers and all, in a still fairly good state in a bag in the fridge. They were starting to become slightly frilly and not quite as fresh as when I picked them. They were certainly good enough, however, for a pesto, sauce or in this case accompaniment to plump and juicy prawns on hot toasted sourdough. If I’m lucky, there may still be some lurking in the garden for the risotto I’d originally planned, but for now, this is a delicious use for them.
As far as the monk’s beard goes, the season for that is even shorter. If you’ve missed it, although I suspect it’s still available (Natoora and Ocado stock it), samphire works perfectly in it’s place. And failing that, some tender British asparagus tips, halved lengthways and lightly steamed will also work.
*I do get dressed. And it’s mainly because the alarm is such shock to the system I snooze it until the last minute. I’m not a morning person. Getting up earlier is not an option with my lack of discipline.
Ingredients, lunch for two
8 large tiger prawns, shell and head on
2 free-range organic eggs
1tbsp Dijon mustard
A pinch of salt
A tablespoon or two of olive oil to finish
A splash of water to loosen
A small bunch of wild garlic, flowers too if you have any (they’re peppery)
A small bunch of monk’s beard or a couple of handfuls of samphire
Juice and zest of half a lemon
Sourdough bread to toast
Make the mayonnaise. You can do this in the mini bowl of the food processor or by hand with a whisk.
Stir the mustard and a pinch of salt into the eggs. With the motor or your whisk hand running, pour in the rapeseed oil at first slowly drop by drop until it starts to thicken and emulsify. You can then speed up the pour, spinning all the time until thick and ‘mayonnaise-y’. Now continue with the olive oil. Add a splash of water to loosen a little. If you’re doing this in the processor, throw in the garlic now and blitz until completely shredded to pieces in the mayo. If doing it by hand, slice, slice and slice again then chop. Now stir it in well. This keeps in the fridge for a few days in a sealed jar so make it ahead if you fancy.
Sauté the prawns with the shell on in some olive oil and chopped garlic until cooked, then remove from the pan and leave to cool a little.
Remove the tough stalks from the monk’s beard. These make good, if temporary weapons
Quickly sauté the leaves in the pan the prawns were cooked in and add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt at the end.
Toast the bread, dollop a spoon of mayonnaise on top and spread it around.
I shelled the prawns over the toast and mayo, squeezing the heads as I did so to get more of the juices out, giving it an even bigger punch of flavour.
A sprinkle of salt and pepper, the still warm monk’s beard leaves and perhaps a few chilli flakes and lunch is ready.