05 May 2010

Cinco de Mayonnaise

Believe it or not, this is not another screed against the lack of decent Mexican food in Paris. There's enough about that in past entries. In fact, in light of the fact that it's Cinco de Mayo Рwherein Mexico celebrates its ass-whooping of the French during the Battle of Puebla Рit's not surprising that the French don't want any real Mexican food to compete with its cuisine. An upstart burrito might actually whomp a cr̬pe and turn the world of casual gastronomy on its ear, upsetting the order of monotony that keeps Parisians properly dour.

No, sir, I wasn't about to let the un-Mexicanness of anything around us on this most Mexican of marketing-fueled holidays get us down. I laughed off the Cinco de Mayo invites from not-even-Spanish-run Tapas bars flooding my inbox. I resisted the temptation to go to my local bar's tequila night.

Instead, we decided it was time for a little payback: It was time to represent la raza, and turn the tables, fucking with a fundamental of French cuisine. (Never mind that neither of us are Mexican, or Latino for that matter...)

Behold, Cinco de Mayonnaise. Whereupon the standard, classic French recipe for mayonnaise – egg yolk, acid (i.e. vinegar) and oil was bastardized, much the way they louse up Mexican food. I haven't had this much fun vigorously flailing my forearm since I first discovered "making mayonnaise" as an adolescent.

Like yin and yang. Cuz they're Asian. Get it?
First up: Thai mayonnaise (based on Cock-brand fish sauce, sriracha chili, and peanut) and Japanese mayonnaise (based on rice vinegar and sugar for a Kewpie-style taste).

Tres. Cuatro. Cinco.
Rounding out the five: Aioli-styley (based on garlic and balsamic), Mexican (hot chili and lime), and in honor of Jon Stewart, the infamous Baconnaise (based on Dijon mustard and lovingly hand-minced lardon bits).

So to our hermanos y hermanas out there, this messing with French tradition is for you.

Of course, one does not simply tuck into mayonnaise. To quote Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, "they drown 'em in that shit." With 'em meaning: French fries.

Best homemade fries ever. (But we can do better!)
After having read about how to make the best Belgian-style double-fried fries over at the French Culinary Institute's "Cooking Issues" blog (highly recommended reading if you're into food science), we decided to give it a go. It's a bit labor-intensive, but the results are way worthwhile. It'll be better once we have a dedicated high-volume deep fryer (soon, my pretties!) but these were awesome.

If you're curious, we skipped the optional pre-blanch step listed in the link above – first off because it's too time-consuming, and secondly because we think Jeffrey Steingarten is an asshat.

Of course, man cannot live on mayo-drenched fries alone. Alannah felt we should have something Mexican and fried up some corn tortillas into tostadas upon which we could have her crazy rich refried beans (featuring lard and lardons), salad, roasted chilis, and sour cream. Sure, it's a bit gringo, but then again, so are we!

"Salad" is only a technical term.
Chugging down a couple of Coronas with lime may have been a bit cheesetacular – especially for purported beer lovers – but hey, what can you do? It was better than going out for freakin' tapas, after all.


  1. I "pre-blanch" my fries not because I'm a food snob but because my kids are pathologically late for meals. By the time the crowd is seated, I have time to go for that final dip in the fryer and all is well with the world.

  2. mmmm delicious!! looks sooo good :D

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