Friday, January 4, 2008

Beef Fondu with 3 Dipping Sauces

So we've all done fondu's before. Stick some canned fondu sauce in a saucepan and have your guests cook their own damn meal ;) We served ours with chinese fondu style beef slices - which are just really thin slices of eye of the round - shrimp, spinach, zuchinni, chinese radish, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, red onion, and three types of cheeses: smoked gruyère, colbe, and mozarella. I made little pockets full of cheese, veggies wrapped in beef so that it doesn't leak all over the place and enjoyed more food than I should have eaten.

To kick things up a bit I made three dipping sauces. One of them was just the leftover of the lemon oil I used for the salad the other day (see previous blog entry) and the other two were aïoli and an improvised fig balsamic honey sauce. Now aïoli is just a fancy word for garlic mayonnaise which is just egg yolks with oil and a squirt or two of lemon juice. For this particular recipe I used half an egg yolk - don't ask - and beat it together with one mashed garlic clove. To properly mash a garlic clove, chop the garlic as finely as you can, sprinkle a bit of coarse salt on it and then use the flat part of your knife and press down with your palm, working it to really mash the garlic to a paste. You obviously need a proper chef's knife for this. No paring knife here.

Once the egg yolk and garlic are properly combined, slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil making sure not to pour in more than what can be absorbed. So pour slowly then whisk or have someone pour for you while you work up some of that unused elbow grease. The mixture should now be nice and stiff so add about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to break it up a bit, whisk together one last time and voilà! You've just made aïoli! And don't tell your friends it's just mayonnaise with garlic. You'll sound cooler if you say aïoli. Pronounciation unsure...I just say ah-ee-oh-lee.

The other dipping sauce I made was basically the flesh of three black figs, a tablespoon of water, a tablespoon of honey and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. I didn't measure anything and just went with my gut. My cheesy beef and vegetable fondu bits had the delightful opportunity of going for a dunk before dissapearing forever down the gullet.

Mmmmm....saucy goodness...

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