MAYONNAISE…YOU EITHER LOVE IT OR HATE IT!
How does a condiment inspire such strong feelings?!? Ask around, people can be fairly neutral, or kind of “meh” about ketchup, relish, mustard and the like…but mayonnaise? People either seem to hate it (it’s a texture thing…it’s greasy…it’s too weird to put on my fries), or they love it (take all the Europeans who dip their fries in it, as an example) I happen to strongly sit in the “I love this sh*t” camp, so hence an article about mayonnaise.
First of all, I want to start by saying that the crap sold on the shelves which is not refrigerated is NOT what I am talking about here…and here’s why:
“Soybean oil, water, whole eggs and egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice concentrate, calcium disodium EDTA, natural flavors”
Not too bad as far as ingredient lists on processed foods go, however, WHAT precisely are these “natural flavors”?? Shouldn’t the lemon juice and salt be enough? Soybean oil; not a good way to start when you consider the processing to manufacture that stuff, and sugar, which is totally not necessary…and EDTA (whomever asked for a side helping of EDTA with their meal?)
Right, so what I am waxing on about here is the real deal. Mayonnaise, as the Culinary Gods intended. “A thick, creamy dressing often used as a condiment. It is a stable emulsion of oil, egg yolk and either vinegar or lemon juice” as described by Wikipedia. Apparently, it came on the scene in the early 1800’s in France.
What I want for you all to realize is that making mayo is not difficult at all, and it is really tasty and quite satisfying. You can flavor it many different ways and use it as a base for so many sauces. You can make it using healthy oils which will help add good fats to your meals. And to be frank, when you tell your guests that the mayo they are putting on their whatever, or that you have made the salad dressing out of is: HOME MADE, well, you look like some kind of culinary rock star. When I say this is not difficult, it’s because it really isn’t! (Tony’s mom wasn’t much of a cook apparently, and she used to make mayo…soooo…if she used to do it, then everyone should be able to handle this…sorry Tony’s mom, no offense intended)
1 egg (use eggs from a good pastured source here, not battery hen eggs)
1 tsp Dijon mustard (buy one without added crap in it…not hard to find)
¼ tsp sea salt or Himalayan Salt
¼ tsp black pepper
Juice from a lemon
1 cup of a light olive oil, or avocado oil, or macadamia oil (if you have extra cash laying around, the macadamia oil is decadent) DO NOT use canola, or soybean oil or some other highly refined “vegetable” oil which has been deodorized, processed with chemicals, has high levels of inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids…not good.
You can do better than that.
1. Put all ingredients into a 1 pint canning jar. Insert immersion blender and whiz.
2. The sauce will thicken. Have a taste, add salt and pepper to taste if you need it. Mine looks a bit green here because I used a mixture of olive and avocado oils.
It really is that simple. This will be good in the fridge for a week to 10 days. However, I doubt it will hang around that long!
So that I don’t start coming across as a shill for kitchen gadgets, here is the good ol’ method which I use most of the time because I would rather wash a whisk and bowl than the immersion blender…
My traditional Mayo recipe:
1 egg yolk (same pasture raised chicken eggs apply)
1 heaping tsp of decent Dijon mustard without crap
juice of a lemon
¼ tsp Himalayan salt and ¼ tsp black pepper
1 cup of light olive oil (same instructions apply here to as above)
1. Whisk your yolk with mustard in a bowl.
2. SLOWLY, as you are continuously whisking, start to drizzle the oil into the egg mix to cause the fats to emulsify. You will know it is working because it stays uniform and doesn’t “break”.
3. It will take on the texture and look of…mayonnaise. Brilliant. Once you have whisked in all the oil, add in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Notice the lighter color here…this is because I only used light olive oil, no avocado oil.
If your mayo “breaks”, meaning, the emulsification doesn’t happen, it’s likely you were impatient and poured the oil in too quickly. No worries. Don’t throw it away, get another bowl out, crack another yolk into the second bowl, whisk in 1 tsp of dijon, and instead of pouring oil in while you are whisking away, slowly pour your “broken” mayo into the new bowl of yolk and mustard. This should do the trick…you will emulsify your broken mayo and not waste all those ingredients. No need for panic. I am the sauce Queen, figured this out about 20+ years ago.
Now what? You have the mayo…you are a Culinary Superstar! Use it as you would normal mayonnaise, and not just in your tuna salad sandwich or on toasted tomato sandwich (although it’s the season for kick-ass tomatoes too).
Ideas to use your awesome mayo:
1. Add in wasabi and thin it with a bit of water and use it on your seared tuna.
2. Add crushed garlic and more lemon and black pepper…excellent on other fish and shellfish.
3. A spoon of pesto makes a great addition, and then you can thin it with a bit of milk or cream or water or lemon and this would be amazing salad dressing.
4. Squeeze of lime juice and chop up cilantro and drizzle on tacos/fajitas/avocados/eggs.
5. Sriracha, lime juice and a bit of coconut aminos or soy and this is great on chicken.
6. Add tomato paste, mustard and finely chopped dill and you have secret sauce.
7. Some sour cream, dried oregano, basil and parsley and some crushed garlic and you are making a seriously good ranch-like dressing.
Mix it in your salads, make a slaw, thin it down a bit for your dressings, slather a dollop on meats and fish. In a pinch, if you are very careful, you can even heat it slightly on low heat on the stove, whisk in a bit of apple cider vinegar and hot water and you have a “cheaters” Hollandaise sauce for those eggs in the morning.
There you have it, folks. Probably 5 minutes of your life to do the entire thing and clean up for a result which is both versatile and tasty, and a much healthier option than what you can buy in the stores! I would say that it is worth a once a week or bi-weekly effort to keep this handy condiment in your fridge.
Fair winds and Following Seas!