Slow Food Mayonnaise
I keep reading about homemade mayonnaise, and the joys of using a stick blender, and the horribleness (is that a word?) of using olive oil, and how it is never thick enough, or white enough, or that it doesn't taste like Best Foods, or Hellmans, or Whatever.
Well, just in case I am not the only one left who likes the idea of making things as they once were made, and who has a dislike of the small engine noises that pervade our lives today, and has a bit of time on hand to take on a small task like mayonnaise making, here is how I make mayonnaise.
First of all, let me say that I rather like storebought mayo. However, I don't like the ingredient list, so I don't buy it anymore. Second: Knowing that mayonnaise comes originally from Spain/southernFrance (i.e olive country) making it with olive oil seems perfectly fine to me ... though, of course, the flavor is totally different from storeboght. And third, I really dislike the sound of small motors (and big ones too, but that is another story), and avoid them when I can. I certainly have the requisite number of kitchen appliances, but when I can I don't use them.
So, this is my recipe for mayonnaise. Depending on circumstances or preference you may not wish to follow my example.
As made this evening:
1 egg yolk - very fresh, laid today by one of my Girls - I have, however, successfully made Mayo from storebought eggs - either Organic, Free Range, or (in the old days) just plain Whatever was Cheapest.
1 1/4 cup oil - I rather like a preponderance of olive oil (and usually use 3/4 c to 1 c), but understand that many do not. This evening I used 3/4 c. avocado oil, 1/4 c. olive oil, 1/4 cup walnut ol (just because I have it, and rather like the taste)
Mustard - I dip my whisk into a bottle of Dijon mustard - probably about 3/4 tsp. Any mustard would work, I just like Dijon. Mustard is an emulsifier, so it helps the egg yolk emulsify the oil
A pinch of salt, to taste
A pinch, or two, of cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice - I used apple cider vinegar this evening.
Put the egg yolk and the mustard into a small bowl - preferably with a rounded bottom. Use a whisk stir the two together. Put the oil into a container with a pour spout (I use a measuring cup). While whisking pour the oil in slowly. The scary part of traditional recipes is that you need to pour in the oil by the drop, and it will separate if you don't do it right. Well, yes, that is more or less correct. However, if you pour a little faster than you should ... then just stop pouring, and whisk in what is there. And add a bit more, and whisk it in. Etc. It isn't as fragile as traditional recipes would have one believe. I have never had a mayonnaise "break". Just whisk in the oil before adding new. And don't worry about stopping for a sip of water (or wine, or whatever), the mayo won't suffer for waiting that minute.
After about 1/2 cup oil the mayo will be quite thick. At this point add in the vinegar/lemon juice. Whisk it in thoroughly, and everything will be quite thin again. Start again with the oil. The more oil you whisk in the thicker the mayonnaise will get. Using less oil, in the mistaken belief that oil is bad, will result in a thinner mayo. I find that 1 egg yolk will easily accept 1 1/4 c. oil. Probably more. If you are feeling adventuresome go for more. It will only make it thicker and more luxurious. Up to a point, of course. Too much oil will make it "break". There are ways to combat that if it happens; google is your friend.
Taste the mayo, and add more salt/cayenne/vinegar as needed. Pour into a jar, cap tightly, and refrigerate. The mayo will last easily 1 week, or somewhat more. Sally Fallon in her book "Nourishing Traditions" suggests adding dairy whey (from drained kefir or yogurt) to fresh mayonnaise, and letting it ferment for several hours at room temperature, saying that this process will extend the life of the mayo by several weeks. I have done this, and suffered no ill effects. I used very fresh eggs however, and have generally a fairly robust digestion. Please google this process, and consider your own circumstances before trying this. (I did not add whey this evening because I won't be awake long enough to put the jar in the fridge at the right time, and also I am reasonably sure that this particular batch will be gone within the week)
So, there it is. Not the 2 minute recipe that seems to be all the rage. This will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes. But I enjoy the process, and perhaps you will as well. (Also, if you use mostly olive oil, as I usually do, you might find that your mayo is bitter if you use a blender or food processor - a known side effect of treating olive oil roughly. A whisk won't cause this to happen)
This won't make a Best Foods alternative. This makes Real Mayonnaise. I prefer the latter; if you would rather have the former, check elsewhere.
I have sometimes wondered what the originators of Mayonnaise - those housewives living in Northern Spain/Southern France several centuries ago - would think if they were confronted with a jar of Best Foods. "What is this? Why is it so white? And bland?" While we say that homemade isn't white enough, and tastes too much of olive oil.
Perhaps not to everyone's taste, but please give it a try if you think you might like it. It tastes good (in my opinion) and is neither so difficult, nor so time time consuming as one might think after reading other recipes.