Last Sunday night, I threw the first dinner party I've thrown in many a moon. I wanted to make a curried mayonnaise for boiled shrimp with drinks.
Mayonnaise is made with raw egg. There's always a danger of salmonella, so frankly, I'd rather make it with a egg produced by a chicken whose diet largely consists of the organic and grass-fed scraps from my table. Also, the quality of the egg matters in mayonnaise. It's just got a more jellylike consistency when made with one of my hens' rich, orange-yolked eggs.
The only problem? My chickens molted in early November and stopped laying. Nature intends this. Commercial egg factories speed up the process cruelly by depriving molting birds of food and water.
Then, even as my hens grew a nice lofty set of feathers for winter, they were still not laying. Nature intends this hiatus, too, in the low-light days. You can get hens to lay through winter with artificial light. But I don't bother.
Still, the days are getting longer. I've been noticing buds on the trees and thinking I could even do a little pruning. And I had a dinner party. So I went out and gave my three hens a stern talking to. "Ladies," I said. I have a carefully calibrated three hens. Just enough to produce sufficient eggs for a five-person family, without triggering much annoyance from the neighbors. "Time to get to it. I need an egg!"
That afternoon? The first egg of the season. My chickens are certainly the most cooperative–and some will argue, most useful–members of my household.
Put an egg in a blender. Blend. Then, slowly, allow corn oil to trickle onto the egg as it's whirring. (Olive oil won't do–too heavy.)
After about a cup of so of oil, you will notice that you've made an emulsion, which has paralyzed the blades. Stop adding oil at this point!
Pour in white vine vinegar or lemon juice to taste. Add a shallot for flavor. Add salt to taste, maybe a pinch of sugar, and a teaspoon or so of curry powder.
Pour into a bowl. I then like to add chopped tarragon, for its sweet licorice taste.
I think this would be excellent, also, as a dressing for chicken salad with peas. But don't tell my darling hens.Posted by Evelyn Hadden on February 12, 2010 at 3:52 am, in the category Uncategorized.