Valentine’s Day is officially here, so I thought it only appropriate to discuss one of my personal loves – Mayonnaise. Either your eyes just got big, or you are squishing up your nose in repulsive disagreement. People either love or hate this creamy emulsification it’s true, but to me there is simply no replacement for your favorite sandwich spread or chicken salad mixer.
FOOD HISTORY ALERT!!!
As story would have it, mayonnaise was invented as part of the celebratory meal after Duc de Richelieu laid siege to Port Mahon, on the Mediterranean island of Minorca, now a part of Spain, in the first European battle of the Seven Years’ War. As the Duke’s chef was preparing the feast he realized the island was lacking the cream he needed to create his desired sauce and, instead, created a sauce out of eggs and oil. Hence Duke’s mayonnaise brand….ahhhh. It’s all coming together. Ok enough food history…
FOOD SCIENCE ALERT!!!
Mayo is the emulsification of egg yolk, a neutral oil like canola oil, mustard (prepared or dry) and lemon or vinegar. Where does the “magic” of emulsification comes in to play? This brings me to the mustard? Mustard is important for two reasons really. One to add a little flavor and two to help in the emulsification process. There’s a lipid called lecithin in egg yolk that when whisked together with mustard aids in the emulsification process. Ok enough science…
What’s the difference between mayo and aioli you ask? All aioli is mayonnaise but not all mayonnaise is aioli. Basically, both have egg yolk at their heart, but mayonnaise is made from canola oil (or other neutral flavored oil) whereas aioli uses olive oil and garlic. Both are delicious and aioli can be spiced up with herbs and peppers adding all sorts of layers to your culinary creations.
So why make your own mayonnaise? Well it tastes delicious and it’s missing the preservatives that store bought, shelf stable mayo possesses. Homemade mayonnaise can stay good in the fridge for up to 3-4 days and once you get the hang of making it can be quickly whipped up at a moments notice. If you don’t want to make your own (totally get it), at least double check your mayo nutrition labels – some have a paragraph of ingredients – just doesn’t seem right for something that has only 4 ingredients! I feel the same about so many store bought prepared items. Grocery store deli’s usually have pre- prepared pico/salsa for instance that have like 35 ingredients – fresh pico has 4-6 ingredients usually. What is all that other junk? Not food! But I digress…
TIPS TO MAKE YOUR MAYO POPPIN’:
- Don’t use a metal bowl. Stick to glass or ceramic. A metal bowl can sometime cause the mayonnaise turn gray and leave it tasting metallic. No thanks!
- It’s best if ingredients are room temperature. Cold or warmth can sometimes interfere with the emulsion process.
- Slowly! Ever so slowly add the oil, especially at the beginning. If it looks like it’s breaking, whisk faster!!!
- Although one egg yolk can hold much more oil, I usually use this ratio: 1 egg to 1/2-3/4 cup of oil
- I like to whisk by hand because I loathe washing my food processor and I skipped arms at the gym this week!
- You can certainly make this in a food processor just be careful to not over process as the heat can sometimes break the emulsification.
- If you have a stick mixer/emersion blender that will also save you muscle fatigue. I actually finally bought one and looking forward to my next batch.
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp of either dry mustard or prepare Dijon mustard
- 1/2-3/4 cup of neutral oil (Canola, Avocado, Grapeseed etc)
- Lemon Juice or white vinegar
Add egg yolk to a glass or ceramic bowl and add dry/prepared mustard. Whisk until combined. Slowly add a small amount of oil (maybe 1/2 tablespoons) and whisk like crazy. If it looks like it’s separating, whisk faster! Once combined, begin to slowly stream in your oil, if it gets too thick add a small amount of lemon juice. Continue to whisk in oil until desired amount. I usually use ½ cup of avocado oil (better for you than canola but does impart a little flavor) for one egg yolk. Once desired amount is reached add a little more lemon juice and salt to taste.
Make your chicken salad with this and prepare to be wowed! I mixed it with sour cream and made a shrimp salad, then wrapped it in crisp lettuce. Didn’t hate it.