Today was the penultimate torch relay day for the London Olympics 2012. So, we rushed out to see it passing through North End Road, in West Kesington. We made the right choice of viewing location, as there were many people, but nothing overwhelming nor crowded. In fact, it was rather easy to get there on the tube, as well as coming back home.
Since we left before lunch, we decided to eat out at our destination. We each had a kebab, standing on the sidewalk, waiting for the torch relay procession. It was probably the worst kebab we’ve ever had. Needless to say, yet I’m saying it nonetheless, we ate a few bites and threw the kebabs out. So, by the time we arrived home, we were quite hungry and with nothing prepared to eat.
I’ve had a craving for homemade mayonnaise for some days now. I remember helping my great-uncle in Spain make traditional, egg mayonnaise, and having to pour the olive oil very slowly and very carefully, as he whipped the egg yolks with a fork by hand. It was a tedious and patience-defying process, but the results were delicious!
Anyway, , I decided today was the day to make it and of course make proper use of it with a typical Spanish summer salad, called Ensaladilla, since it’s so warm out in London.
The ensaladilla takes on various forms, depending on one’s own preference and family recipes. The most typical one is called ensaladilla rusa, named after Lucien Olivier, a Russian chef, who created the salad circa 1860. It generally includes peas. However, I don’t really like them, so I make mine without. Additionally, instead of the canned tuna I used today, one can use cooked fish of a meaty/chunky type or even fresh, cooked tuna. My mother particularly likes to make hers with chunks of cooked sea bass.
Mayonnaise Without Eggs or Milk Mayonnaise*
I started making a traditional egg mayonnaise, but after ruining two batches and with no eggs left, I decided I should try the milk version, which I haven’t made in a long time.
- 100 ml of room temperature milk
- 150 ml of olive oil, extra virgin
- sea salt
- lemon juice
Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a pinch of salt to the milk. Place this in a blender and start to blend. Add olive oil, VERY slowly (as a string), until emulsified. You will know if you’ve gone past the emulsifying point, as the milk and the oil will separate. If this happens, you will have to start all over again. For the ensaladilla, I made a double batch.
- 4 medium carrots, washed and not peeled
- 4 medium potatoes, washed and not peeled
- 3 medium eggs, boiled for 11 minutes
- 1/2 kilo of small shrimp or the equivalent of medium shrimp, by volume, with shells
- two small cans of tuna in olive oil, or fresh tuna, cooked, if you prefer
- pimiento morron (for decoration, and optional)
Place the washed vegetables in a pot with water and cook. The carrots should be tender, but not overcooked, in about 20 minutes. Poke them with a fork; if they require more time, adjust. The potatoes should take about 30 minutes to be tender, but as potatoes vary by type, check with fork as well. When the vegetables are done, rinse with cold water and let cool. Peel and cut into squares.
Boil the eggs. When done, rinse with cold water and let cool. Peel, reserving the egg yolk for decoration. Cut the whites into squares.
Cook the shrimp in their shells in a separate pot. Once they are done, rinse with cold water and let cool. Peel. If they are medium sized, save a few for decoration, and cut the rest in half.
Place all of the cooked ingredients and two small cans of tuna in a bowl. Add all the mayonnaise, reserving about 6 tablespoonfuls. Mix well, without breaking the vegetables. Spread into a shape in a serving platter and cover with the remaining mayonnaise. Spread the mayonnaise over so it looks like frosting of a cake.
Decorate with grated egg yolks, some shrimp and pimiento morron.
*I’m a bit lactose intolerant yet don’t generally have a problem with the milk version, but for those of you who do, you can substitute with yoghourt or make the egg version, which I’ll post separately.