Ingrid and I were were walking the streets of Paris one recent afternoon and quickly decided on having an evening at home with beef tartare, artisanal potato chips and champagne for dinner. Ingrid Pankonin, a private chef visiting from Berkeley, California, has been popping up in Paris over the last 5 years. We have enjoyed many beautifully crafted meals together.  From road trips to Piedmont, Italy and city escapes to the french countryside, when Ingrid is in town, so is laughter, grub and champagne.

We spent the afternoon collecting ingredients around my neighborhood, while ducking out of the rain and filling our market bags bit by bit. We hit rue de Bretagne and went to my local market to get organic veggies, Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, the oldest covered market in Paris. Next to the market, and along the food shops of rue de Bretange, we went to Fromagerie Jouannault, one of my favorite cheese shops, and lastly stopped at the Boucherie du Marais to pick up our beef to hand cut at home for the tartare.

This type of apron on a butcher my quality default check for Parisian butchers, it is the old Les Halles style of wrapping 2 waist aprons with a specific knot used to tie the shoulder stap. This style of apron shows a prideful butcher.

by Ingrid Pankonin

Equipment you will need:

2-quartish bowl
Optional: A saucepan that will cradle the bowl, plus a towel - line the saucepan with the towel, then cradle the bowl in it for a non-slipping bowl. Also optional: a microplane, or mortar and pestle


1 egg yolk + 1 extra egg in case the mayo breaks (curdles)
2/3 - 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil - this is not the time for a super-green, spicy olive oil. Use a mild extra virgin or even start with 1/4 cup of neutral vegetable oil and finish with EVO.
1 plump clove of garlic - minced, pounded in a mortar and pestle, or *shortcut* microplaned
salt to taste - 1/2 - 1 tsp
lemon juice to taste

First, make sure the egg is at room temperature!  This is my number one mayo breaker.  If you need to make mayo straight from a cold egg, fear not!  Warm the egg up in a bowl of hot tap water for a few minutes, keeping in mind that the warmth needs to make it all the way into the yolk, so it may take a couple of water changes.  I think the egg should feel ever so slightly warm to the touch on the outside.

Now, let's make the mayo!  I'm calling it mayonnaise because some people would argue that aïoli has no acid (and has a TON of garlic!), but I like garlicky mayo to have some lemon in it, and it goes well with the tartare.
Whisk the egg yolk to break it up.  Start by dribbling a few drops of oil in, whisking all the while.  Add a few more drops when the first ones are fully incorporated.  How hard or fast you whisk is much less important than just making sure the olive oil is fully absorbed before adding more.  Continue drizzling and whisking… as the mayonnaise starts to grow in volume, it may become a little too thick - just add a few drops of water or lemon juice.  Now is a good time to add a first pinch of salt, too.  Also, you can start to increase the amount of oil you add each time - moving up to a teaspoon or so for a few additions, then on to a tablespoon or so for the next while.  Again - just make sure it's fully incorporated before adding more!  Taste along the way for seasoning. Keep on like this until you've added all the oil.  Add the garlic, and lemon juice and salt to taste - since the mayo is mostly oil, it'll take a few minutes for the salt to dissolve.  The garlic will also get stronger as it sits, so just taste it again and adjust if necessary.

*If at any time the mayo gets loose and looks curdled, it has "broken".  You have to just start over with a fresh, room temp egg yolk.  Then add the broken mayo in the same manner as the olive oil on the first go-around: a few drops at a time, whisking.  And so on. Store leftover mayo in the fridge for one day.  As mentioned above, cold is the enemy of a stable mayonnaise - so if you want to use it as such, let it warm up a bit.  Or, use it as a base for a little vinaigrette!  Add a little mustard, some more lemon juice or red wine vinegar, and more oil to taste, plus S+P.  Yay!

For the mayo, delicately separate the yolk from your perfect egg and begin the emulsification process.

For the tartare, finely chop up some cornichon pickles, shallots and capers and lay them out on each individual plate or on a platter, family style. Other things you can add to the fixins on the tartare table are things like homemade thousand island, ketchup, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.  For ours, we seasoned the beef and simply used our freshly made garlic mayo along with the pickles, shallots and capers. It was delicious. You can mix up your own personal fave combo.

L'Etivaz, a french alp cheese...and Paris' only local cheese, Brie de Meaux
Valencay, a goat's milk cheese... and Fleur de Maquis, a sheep's milk cheese from Corsica

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