I’ve just given you a recipe for home-made mayonnaise and variations on flavoring it. I’ve also provided my recipe for tri-tip beef roast. For an elegant hors d’ouevre at your next dinner, cocktail party or wine buffet, spread some of your Elegant Mayonnaise on petite toasts, croutons or croissants, adding thin slices of tri-tip beef which has been chilled. It’s very easy to slice thinly when it is cold, but don’t try it when the beef is still warm. You can, of course, keep the beef pink and its juices will coagulate upon chilling.
My special version of this basic appetizer has been a hit at all of our parties. I’ll give specifics on that and my other original appetizers when my recipe book is published. Until then, remember that an elegant dish or appetizer depends upon very few ingredients, combined with proper and careful preparation
1 tablespoon of dry English mustard (or two tablespoons of prepared Dijon mustard)
1 teaspoon of salt, and a 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper if desired
1 tablespoon of sugar, white or brown
1 1/2 – 2 cups of olive, corn or peanut oil, other vegetable oil or a combination of oils, depending upon your taste and available supplies. Some people find olive oil overpowering, or incompatible with the main dish to which mayonnaise would be added. Tailoring the taste of home-made mayonnaise is part of the fun. And, the amount of oil varies from one episode of mayonnaise-making to the next, depending upon the phase of the moon and other variables, such as the size and quality of eggs, so I say one-and-a-half cups to two cups.
2 tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar Method:
In a bowl of a food processor put the two egg yolks, the dry English mustard, salt and pepper. Process these ingredients for a minute. Begin adding the oil in a thin stream, a little at a time. After half a cup of oil has been added, incorporate the vinegar and sugar into the mixture. Continue adding, gradually as before, the rest of the oil, until the mayonnaise is thick and glossy. Don’t process it until it’s chunky, but if this happens, add more oil, a tablespoon at a time and whirl gently till smooth again.
Additional ingredients to custom-tailor your mayonnaise: green peppercorns in brine, crushed; dried green chiles, strained horseradish, roasted garlic for aioli (never use it raw), red chile powder, wasabi. One extra ingredient per batch is the limit for an elegant and simple spread.
Seal your mayonnaise in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator for a week maximum.
Marinate a tri-tip roast in a little bit of red port wine, Worcestershire sauce, coarsely ground black pepper, seasoning salt, and a little bit of your favorite oil; olive, peanut or corn oil. After a few hours, dry the roast and reserve the remaining marinade for sauce. Dust the meat with salt and pepper. This absorbs the external moisture to help in searing the roast. In a Dutch Oven, or a big, heavy pot, melt a half-stick of butter on high heat, when the butter begins to brown, lower the meat into the pot. Brown it on all sides, Add coarsely chopped onion, celery, carrots (miniature peeled carrots are perfect for this dish), and some quartered potatoes. Stir these vegetables in the pot around the roast, cooking them until their edges are brown, and then add one or two cups of beef broth (depending upon the size of your roast) mixed with the marinade. Stir the vegetables again, let the liquid come to a boil, then lower the heat to simmering and and cover the pot. Cook to your desired degree. I cook mine about one hour, because we like it well-done. For company, you may want to cook it medium-well, leaving the middle pink. Remove the meat and vegetables. I make gravy from what is remaining in the pot. After the meat has cooled a bit, I slice it very thinly with a very sharp Japanese ceramic knife. You can put the sliced beef on a platter, on top of a shallow pool of the gravy. Trim the beef by placing vegetables around it. If you have a warming tray, set your platter on it to keep the dish warm. Alternatively, you may arrange the meat and vegetables in a buffet-handled pan and reheat on the stove just before serving.
Every time I make these simple pan-cooked wafers, no matter how irregularly shaped they may be, they are consumed with great enthusiasm. I’m not bragging; it’s just because the ingredients in them are so pure, and they complement wine or drinks perfectly.
Heat a flat, large frying pan or griddle to medium-high. No need to grease it; the Parmesan cheese will provide enough fat while cooking to ensure the wafers won’t stick.
Grate two cups of Parmesan cheese, any brand. You can even chop it up in a food-processor or a blender.
Add a half-cup of chopped pine nuts (pignolia in Italian or piñon in Spanish), and mix well.
Season with a little red pepper. Don’t add salt, because the cheese is salty enough.
Place a tablespoonful of this mixture on the hot griddle, and spread into thin round shape, about 3 inches diameter. These constructions can be a bit lace-like, as the melting cheese bits will form a strong matrix and will hold together. Repeat this process as many times as you can fit on your pan at once. There will be no need to flip these over; just remove them when they are golden brown, and set them on your serving tray. I like to line mine with a large paper lace doilie to soak up some of the fat.
Tip: these Parmesan Pine Nut Crisps can be moulded while still warm in miniature muffin tins, then filled with compatible ingredients.
Parmesan Pine-Nut Cocktail Crisps must be prepared right before your party. They’re so simple to make that your guests can watch you do it without rattling your nerves. These are perfect snacks for the person on a low-carb diet, since they are virtually carb-free.
Recipe Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2008
The next time I make these for a party, I’ll show a photo of them here at Elegant Cuisine.