Saturday, June 12, 2010

Make Mayonnaise

What are your feelings about mayonnaise? It seems that it is a necessity that stays in its sacred place in our fridges, to bring a bit of moisture to the occasional sandwich or bring a potato, macaroni or chicken salad together with its rich creaminess.
You might love mayo, hate it, or live somewhere in between and allow its presence on the exceptionally dry sandwich.
I am typically #3. I am not a big fan, and if a restaurant piles it on I will remove the excess, but I don't hate it, either. I think it has its place in the culinary world.
As a child, I really, really liked mayonnaise. I loaded tuna with it and put it on everything from bologna sandwiches to hot dogs and hamburgers. Maybe I overdid it. Within a few years I didn't like mayo at all. I could barely tolerate its presence-I would rather eat my sandwiches dry. I kept it in my fridge for the occasion recipe, but otherwise almost never used it.
One day, I read in a cookbook about homemade mayonnaise. The author encouraged you to try it even if you were not a big fan. A spark was ignited in me. To create this culinary wonder seemed like a task I wanted to accomplish. The ingredients were simple, the technique was a little finicky, but I was sure I could do it. The first batch I made I did completely by hand-no food processor or blender. I admit, it was a process, but so rewarding. I tried the trembling, silky stuff on a carrot. I know that sounds a little gross, but it was really good.  I couldn't believe how good. This was not your ordinary mayonnaise. First of all, it wasn't a stiff, eggshell-colored substance, it was much softer, and had more yellow in it. Secondly, it had flavor! I don't really think store-bought mayo has that much flavor. This stuff was almost buttery.
I made BLT's for me and my husband and loaded them with mayo. It was awesome! When you whip that stuff into a dip or dressing, it adds so much more depth than what you are used to. The perfect balance of flavors is so delicious.
I have not purchased mayonnaise in quite sometime. I make up a double batch and we use it up pretty quickly. You can whisk in a little lemon juice and some chopped herbs and drizzle it over chicken and pasta and you have an outstanding gourmet sauce. Many other sauces are a form of mayonnaise, which is really just an emulsion of eggs and oil. Bearnaise and hollandaise use butter instead of vegetable oil and are just so good. I do possess an incredible hollandaise recipe that I will probably divulge at some time in the future, but for now, make some mayonnaise. Oh, also, aiolis, which are just mayonnaise with garlic and a few other spices of your choice are also wonderful for everything from French Fries to drizzling over meats and vegetables.
Let you explorations of mayonnaise begin!

Makes 2 1/2 cups

2 egg yolks at room temperature
1 egg at room temperature
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 cups vegetable oil

I like to use a food processor. You can also use a food processor if you prefer.
Fit food processor with steel blade. Combine the egg yolks, egg, mustard, water, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, kosher salt, and pepper in the bowl and process until well mixed. With the motor running, add the oil through the feed tube drop b drop so the eggs and oil will combine smoothly. After emulsification has begun and mayonnaise starts to hold together, pour in the oil in a slow, steady stream. When all the oil has been added, shut off the motor and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

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