Too scared to make your own mayonnaise? You’ve been living in fear for too long. Here’s my foolproof method, plus some tasty ways to make a sauce that will help any dish sing
FOR years French chefs in tall white hats with the sort of bad breath that curls your toes have tried to bamboozle us with mayonnaise.
But I believe anyone with a decent stick blender and the ability to follow simple instructions can make a good mayonnaise in seconds. Discovering this trick from Masterchef UK winner Mat Follas sent me on a crusade to banish mayonnaise demons from these shores. But now I also want to show you how to customise that mayonnaise to add pep to your barbecues, salads and dinners.
THE BASE MAYONNAISE
To make the basic mayo, carefully crack an egg into the base of a stick blender canister, making sure the yolk doesn’t break. Add 1 tbs Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and the juice of half a lemon.
Gently pour in 350ml grapeseed oil, again taking care not to break the yolk. Insert the stick blender, making sure the blades completely cover the yolk.
Blend. After a second or so you’ll see white ribbons of mayo forming around the stick blender head. Now slowly pull the blender up through the oil so the mayo comes together. Taste. Season with more lemon juice and salt as required, (and I suspect it will be required). Then push the blender back down through the mayo to incorporate all the oil. Serve.
Customising anything is about using flavour combinations to make a dish taste like it is obviously from one part of the world. For example, to give the basic mayo recipe a French twist, swap the lemon juice for white wine vinegar, add some thyme, and keep the other ingredients – Dijon mustard, grapeseed oil, salt and egg.
Taking this as our starting point, let’s pimp our French-inspired mayonnaise by using the same technique but by substituting a few new ingredients. Smoked mayonnaise: Hipsters love everything pickled and smoked but everyone will love this dressing.
Stir in a few drops of smoke flavouring to the mayonnaise. You can also substitute 1 tbs cider vinegar for the white wine vinegar to step up the flavour.
Add a few drops of maple syrup on each dollop of mayo to complete the hipster picture. Great on fries with battered and fried pickles.
Japanese mayonnaise: Use 1 tbs rice wine vinegar instead of the white wine vinegar, and add 10 drops Maggi seasoning, 1 tsp mustard powder and 1 tsp soy sauce, and then the raw egg and oil. Use peanut rather than grapeseed oil. Taste and adjust by adding vinegar and Maggi. This umami bomb is great served with a bucket of prawns and some lemon wedges. To intensify the flavour, add hondashi and garlic powders, diluted in the vinegar, and use less of the Maggi.
Salsa verde mayonnaise: Blitz a garlic clove with a bunch of parsley (thin stalks and leaves), half a bunch of basil leaves, 1 tbs capers, six anchovy fillets and 100ml olive oil. Continue until it’s a smooth puree. Add the whole egg, salt, the juice of a lemon and 250ml grapeseed oil. Blend to make the mayo.
Garnish with crispy capers and your choice of torn basil leaves, diced gherkins or mint. Serve with steak or roast lamb.
Thai mayonnaise: Grind the clean roots, stems and half the leaves of a bunch of coriander with 100ml peanut oil to form a paste. Add 1 tbs fish sauce, 1 tbs lime juice and a grate of palm sugar. Slip in the egg, 250ml peanut oil and blend using the basic technique. Season with more fish sauce and lime juice. Use to dress a Thai slaw, or on chicken sliders.