Asparagus and Smoked Fish in Homemade Mayonnaise
I discovered the maiden issue of Edible Brooklyn in a drop box on Atlantic Avenue last week. Apparently, Brooklyn is but the latest entry in a whole slew of edible cities (and peninsulas). I’m not sure if features on the contents of John Flansburgh’s refrigerator will turn many low-budget hipsters into subscribers at $28 for four issues, but I’m hooked, and will continue to pick it up as long as they keep dumping complimentary copies on the corner of Court and Atlantic. (This neighborhood is a veritable cornucopia of free reading material! Lately, there’s been a gratis stack of Paper Magazine amid the piles of Cobble Hill Couriers and Brooklyn-Queens Parents littering the windowsill at tatty old Met Foods. Back in the day, it seemed to pride itself on exclusivity. I applaud the circulation department’s brave decision to bring a Max’s Kansas City sensibility to the proletariat and live in hope that soon, amyl nitrate will be available for purchase in the gumball machines, so the produce boys and I can fully experience the glam lifestyle.)
Speaking of insiders, Edible Brooklyn’s editrix is on the payroll of NYC’s Greenmarkets, which is good news for organic farmers, neighboring beekeepers, makers of artisan cheese, stalwart seltzer sellers and (who knew?) a smokehouse in Greenpoint, all of whom received favorable mention alongside, if not actually in, Herr Flansburgh’s fridge. Those looking for recipes should visit some of the blogs listed at right, because Edible Brooklyn keeps them to a skimpy two pages. The three they do publish look pretty tasty, though Neanderthal that I am, I had to ask my friend, Mrs. Lindsay-Abaire what “green garlic” is and she said, “Oh, it’s some kind of garlic you can get it at the farmer’s market around this time of year.”
For shame, Edible Brooklyn! How many free fiddleheads is that organic garlic farmer slipping in your string bag, to get you to compromise your journalistic integrity with such glaring product placement? I was like, “You know what? No. I’ll try your recipe but I’m using regular garlic." For all I know, that daffodil-like stem that's beginning to shoot up from the head I bought last week is green garlic! Also, I used way more smoked fish than recommended, an inadvisable amount of sage and cooked my supposed-to-be-raw asparagus because I know my husband’s limits. And I’d do it again, if only to guzzle some homemade mayo that didn't quite set up right! To get Edible Brooklyn’s take on things, you can subscribe, or drag your carcass to one of their designated drop-off locations.
Asparagus and Smoked Fish in Homemade Mayonnaise
Mince a couple cloves of regular old garlic, unless the green garlic lobby has you by the short & curlies, in which case, one stalk will allegedly do you.
Mince one scallion. (Is that the same as a spring onion? Maybe I’d know, if I was in the pocket of Big Organics! As it is, I'm having difficulty distinguishing between scallions and green garlic, as pictured above.)
Combine the garlic and the scallion with a lemon’s worth of lemon juice in a ceramic or glass bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of water and 3 egg yolks, reserving the whites for some other purpose. (Like scrambling for a low-cal breakfast the next morning. Slather ‘em up with a heaping helping of that leftover homemade mayo and you’re in for a treat!) Whisk only to combine. Preserve your wrist strength for the next step, the one that made me think of that lover’s lane hand job scene in Animal House,where Babs, the icy sorority girl, ("Greg, honey, is it supposed to be this soft?") peels off her rubber gloves with an audible snap. (Or maybe you have a food processor.)
Add olive oil, one drop at a time, whisking all the while. How much olive oil? Fuck if I know, Babs. I ran through a fifth of a bottle or so, and never quite achieved that Hellman’s like consistency, though as viscous sauces go, my semi-solid mayo ruled. It did drive home just how fattening the stuff is, but I try not to dwell on such matters.
When you can’t whisk no more, add salt and stick it in the fridge.
Go into the wild, catch a trout, smoke him (or deliver him unto Greenpoint), remove the bones, skin & head, and chop the meat into whatever size chunks you like to eat with asparagus and homemade mayonnaise. Alternatively, my friends at Fish Tales will fix you up with a pre-killed, pre-smoked speciment that’ll eliminate most of the grunt work for a mere six bucks.
Steam a bunch of asparagus. Greg got a pained look on his face, asking “Al dente? in such a piteous tone of voice I couldn’t help but return them to the steamer until they were still bright emerald, but lacking in crunch. When they’re cool enough to handle, cut them into bite-size segments and put them in a bowl with the trout. Dress with as much mayo as you see fit.
Grate a radish. (I swear to god, I have no idea what to do with the other dozen radishes I was forced to buy to get this one. If I weren’t such a dunce with the digital camera, I could try my hand at recreating the cover of Robyn Hitchcock’s Invisible Hitchcock) Salt it, dress it up with some sliced fresh herbs (I used half a smallish bunch of sage, which I incorrectly thought wouldn’t be too much, as long as I fried it in olive oil, forgetting that every last drop of olive oil had gone into the mayo. Moderation is key here. Maybe skip the radish and herbs all together, but if you can’t bear the thought of that, mix ‘em up with a spoonful of mayo and use this to decorate the top of the delightfully still-warmish salad.
Following my cholesterol-rich breakfast the next day, I figured I’d better see about putting myself on a leash, given my desire to not entirely disgrace myself in my tail, come the Mermaid Parade . Accordingly, I both emailed and phoned Mrs. Lindsay-Abaire to see if I could lay some leftover homemade mayo on her when we picked the boys up from kindergarten, but damn her hide, she’d gone incommunicado on me. No matter. As the kids were getting their after school ya yas out, pushing each other down the slide, I found myself engaged in a pleasant chat with a neighbor woman I’d heretofore exchanged only garden variety pleasantries with, and after about fifteen minutes, I decided to offer her the precious gift of my leftover mayonnaise. She was only to happy to accept, once she’d ascertained that my reasons for wanting to rid myself of it had nothing to do with spoilage. Of course, I ran into Mrs. Lindsay-Abaire as I was exiting the schoolyard. I informed her of the terrible cost of her inaccessibility, and she retaliated by ringing my doorbell with these exquisite leftover Portabello enchiladas! Despite the professional packaging (also leftover), these babies were home cooked and you bet that was some good eatin’, Girlie Sue. I’ll have to write Gourmet to see if they might be able to persuade the chef to share her recipe. In the meantime, let's indulge in a fantasy whereby everybody cooks up a storm on Monday, then earns a busman’s holiday by exchanging leftovers on Tuesday.
PS - The beautiful cartoon at the top of this post comes to us courtesy of Natalie Dee! All rights reserved, as well they should be.