Sunday, July 04, 2010

Mayonnaise in the Guardian

The latest article in Felicity Cloake's very useful “How To Make Perfect...” series in the Guardian concerns mayonnaise. Online, you get readers' comments as well.

In Cloake's own recipe, she adds oil to egg yolks and salt. I have always mixed Dijon mustard with my egg yolk(s) first. (And I have used a pestle and mortar, which have never given me as much grief as she seems to experience with them.) But yesterday I found that I had run out of mustard, so I tried her method. I ended up with a thin yellow liquid - my first ever failure.

The mustard - I generally use half a teaspoon of it with one yolk - helps to emulsify the sauce. As soon as the oil is incorporated with the yolk, the emulsification occurs. But that was not the case when I carried out my sorry experiment. The oil and yolk combined but did not thicken - perhaps I should have used a whisk. Nevertheless, I carried on, rather as if I were in a hole and persisting to use a spade.

I never use a blender. Blades damage the flavour of oil, in my view.

Here is my mayonnaise recipe. Nowadays, I use a ratio of sunflower/groundnut oil to olive oil of 125g/25g.


Chef Kenneth said...

I am glad I stumbled upon you! Mayo is so simple....I too always use a bit of mustard and I also include a bit of acid like lemon juice or white wine vinegar. I opt for a whisk having made huge batches of the stuff while interning in a restaurant in Chicago.
The acid is good for the flavor - I can't imagine a French Trained Chef leaving it out - and it helps kill any bacteria that may be lurking in your eggs.
Happy cooking!

Nicholas Clee said...

Thanks, Kenneth. It is simple - but simple here is not a synonym for "can't go wrong".

I'm wary of using the "s" word, because I know that even accomplished cooks can have trouble with particular dishes. I have been lucky that mayonnaise has not been one of my stumbling blocks, except when I left out the mustard.

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