Diana Rigg's Aioli
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp. wine vinegar
1 cup fine grade Spanish olive oil
2 tbsps. fresh lemon juice
Crush garlic. Put crushed garlic and basil into a mortar (or small bowl that narrows at the bottom) and pound with pestle until well-blended (or use electric blender). Add egg yolks to garlic mixture. Beat egg yolks with a whisk (or fork) until they are thick; beat in salt, mustard, pepper and vinegar.
Add olive oil drop by drop, beating well after each addition. Be sure the yolks have absorbed each drop of oil before adding more olive oil. Keep adding olive oil until half the oil has been used and the mixture is quite stiff. Now add lemon juice by beating it hard, then larger amounts of olive oil, beating very hard after each addition.
The mayonnaise is very thick. It can be made thinner by cutting down on the amount of oil. (Vary according to individual taste.) Serve cold with roast lamb, as dip for raw vegetables, glaze for poached white fish or stir into hot soup. Makes 1 generous cup.
Thoughts: Diana's homemade mayonnaise is worth all the trouble to make. An electric blender speeds the task. For lovely variations, use chopped chives, lime juice and parsley.
Diana Rigg's Mussels
4 dozen mussels, in shell
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsps. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 clove garlic, pressed
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
Select large fresh mussels with the shells closed; scrub them very well with a stiff wire brush under running water. Place mussels in large stock pot. Cover and cook them over high heat about 5 minutes (or until shells begin to open), shaking pan. Discard any that do not open. Line a strainer with cheesecloth, set over a bowl, pour mussels through cheesecloth to collect the fluid and remove any remaining sand. Return mussels and shells (rinsed in water) and strained liquid to stock pot. Add onion, parsley, garlic, thyme, lemon juice and wine. Cook about 7 minutes longer. Serve at once with French bread. Makes a complete meal! Serves 4.
Thoughts: Diana's mussels are lovely and delicate to the taste. If desired, stir in a dollop of Diana's aioli to complete the feast. If you like, use mussel shell as a spoon. It only adds to the fun!