Herb de Provence no guilt “butter”

I will be eternally grateful to the ungrateful Frenchy who stayed with me for some months as a WOOFer and traveling companion. He introduced me to Herbs de Provence. He asked his mother to post some to us from France, so we could make his favorite dish, a simple tomato tarte, a mouth mourishing combination of fresh tomato, a creamy dijon mustard and Herbs de Provence. These flavors are a marriage made in heaven. The only other thing it needs for perfect lusciousness is fat. His flavor combination was set off by a nice, buttery shortcrust pasty. This latest experiment is just as decadent, except it has a low saturated fat content. It will dress up a sandwich or even a bit of old bread toasted with tomatoes and turn it into a taste explosion. Best of all its quick.

Herb de Provence no guilt “butter”

1 tbsp good creamy (not grainy) Dijon mustard. I use Maille brand. It’s tasty and easy to find. Not all mustard’s are the same. It’s very important for this dish that your dijon not be bitter or too hot when you taste it.

a slurp of apple cider vinegar, but not too much

1 tsp dried herbs de provence. Herbies spices does a lovely one, strongly scented with lavender and tarragon

1/2 cup good tasty olive oil. I like Italian olives, extra virgin, cold pressed. This lot I bought at Aldis and its great.

seasoning to taste

I actually made this with the last of the mustard caught around the squeezy bottle the mustard was in, so nothing was measured, and the above is an approximation. You can make it in a jar then shake all of the ingredients together each time you use it. If you’ve got enough mustard to bind it and not too much vinegar it should be creamy and thick, but thinner than mayonnaise. Enjoy on your ham sandwich, or do like I do and have it on a piece of toast covered with the ripest tomatoes and a little salt and pepper if you need to.  You’d never know your toast wasn’t swimming in melted butter, but your heart and arteries will. Plus the tomatoes give added antioxidant vigor. Just forgive yourself for the white bread and remind yourself that its better than pastry.

This flavour can be made more stable and rich with the addition of an egg or an egg yolk, gradually adding the oil last while whisking or using a blender to make a tasty mayonnaise, or when asparagus and beans need a spectacular lift make a hollondaise by warming the “non-oil ingredients” plus an egg yolk or two over double boiler and gradually whisking in cubes of cold butter till thick and glossy.

This is a late night standby when I want a snack.

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