Uncle Vincent’s Langoustine with Mayonnaise and Tarragon Oil
This is dedicated to my wonderful, extremely magical great uncle Vincent who inspired me everyday. We used to talk at great length about food, restaurants and tennis and he sadly left us last week at the impressive age of 99. I wanted to celebrate his extraordinary life with a little recipe that I used to make him for birthdays and special occasions. He was a big fan of seafood, in particular langoustine, and I will always make a toast to him when I eat them. This is the perfect summer celebration dish and once you have mastered the mayonnaise you can add different flavours such as saffron or Asian chilli paste to the format. The langoustine can be prepared ahead of time and just sliced before serving. I usually make a large bowl of butter lettuce with chives and chopped avocado to go with it.
10 langoustine ( I used live but you can buy cooked as long as you are sure that they are fresh)
Small bunch of chives, finely chopped
Extra lemon to serve
2 fresh egg yolks (I used organic and be sure to avoid spilling in any of the egg whites otherwise it can ruin your mayonnaise)
200ml sunflower oil
1 level tsp mashed garlic or garlic paste, about the size of a small clove
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp honey
sea salt and black pepper
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp finely chopped tarragon leaves, I started with a bunch of 20g tarragon
squeeze of lemon juice
Start by making the mayonnaise and add the yolks into a large mixing bowl. Use an electric whisk (or hand whisk) and start to beat the yolks. Slowly drizzle in a little of the sunflower oil and allow it to mix in with the yolks before trickling in a little more oil. It is important to whisk consistently at this point. Continue adding a little oil at a time and bit by bit the yolks will begin to thicken and go pale. When they go a creamy colour you can start adding the oil a little faster. When all of the oil has been added you will be left with a thick white mayonnaise consistency and now you can whisk in the remaining ingredients for the mayonnaise. The sauce will become a little more runny in texture but it should still hold. Taste to check the seasoning and place in the fridge covered until needed. This will keep for around 3 days.
For the tarragon oil, add the chopped tarragon into a small bowl along with the rest of the ingredients and mix. Use the back of a spoon to mash the herbs against the bowl to combine with the oil. If you had a pestle and mortar this would make it easier to incorporate. In 2 minutes you should be left with a rustic, green coloured oil.
If using live langoustine, set a large saucepan of water to boil with a lid on top. Keep the live langoustine in the fridge while you wait for the water to bubble and be sure to salt the saucepan generously. Take 5 langoustine out of the fridge and quickly drop them in the boiling water closing the lid straight after. Set a timer to 3 minutes and then use tongs to fish them out and into a sieve to drain. Bring water back to the boil to finish the second batch. Once they are all cooked place one on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to slice through the middle of the head lengthways. There should be a natural straight line on the langoustine to follow and continue to slice all the way through to the tail. Do the same with the remaining 9 and arrange on a large serving platter with a generous seasoning of salt, pepper, squeeze of lemon juice, chopped chives and drizzle of olive oil. Serve straight away with both sauces on the side. Bon Appétit.