Felic­ity Cloake

Home­made mayo

The Guardian - Feast - - Front Page - Felic­ity Cloake

With a few ex­cep­tions, com­mer­cial may­on­naise is to home­made as pro­cessed cheese is to ma­ture ched­dar – con­ve­nient, but hard to get ex­cited about. Proper mayo, gen­tly wob­bly and yolk-yel­low, is a quite dif­fer­ent beast: too good to hide away in a sand­wich, it de­serves to be the star of the show, served with crunchy baby veg, fresh seafood or just a big pile of hot, salty chips.

Prep 5 min

Cook 15 min

Makes 300ml

1 egg yolk

1 big pinch salt

1 tbsp di­jon mus­tard

1 tbsp white-wine or cider vine­gar, or lemon juice

250ml light olive, grape seed, sun­flower or other neu­tral oil

25ml ex­tra-vir­gin olive, wal­nut or rape­seed oil

1 Pre­pare the in­gre­di­ents

En­sure ev­ery­thing is at room tem­per­a­ture be­fore you get go­ing. This makes the fin­ished prod­uct much less likely to split. So, if you keep your eggs in the fridge, take them out at least 30 min­utes be­fore you start work.

2 Choose your tools

This small amount of may­on­naise is hard to make in most food mix­ers, but elec­tric beat­ers will do the trick, as will a whisk and a bit of el­bow grease. You will also need a large, sturdy bowl. If you hap­pen to have a stick blender and a tall jug in which it fits snugly, go to step 7.

3 Start whisk­ing

Put a damp cloth un­der the bowl to an­chor it, then put the egg yolk and salt in the bowl. Whisk for about 20 sec­onds, un­til slightly thick­ened, then add the mus­tard and acid (and a tea­spoon of cold wa­ter if you’re ner­vous, though it’s not strictly nec­es­sary). Whisk for an­other 30 sec­onds. Fa­mil­iarise your­self with step 6 be­fore go­ing any fur­ther.

4 Start to in­cor­po­rate the oil

Be­gin to add the oil into the bowl, drop by painstak­ing drop, whisk­ing all the time. Don’t be tempted to use ex­travir­gin olive oil, be­cause this will make a heavy, of­ten bit­ter may­on­naise, espe­cially if you’re us­ing elec­tric beat­ers. It’s far bet­ter, and cheaper, to start with a neu­tral oil and add some ex­tra-vir­gin at the end.

5 Fin­ish adding the oil

Keep whisk­ing and pour­ing un­til the may­on­naise be­gins to thicken, at which point you can be­gin to add the oil more quickly, fol­lowed by a sec­ond, more flavour­ful oil, if you like. Once all 275ml of the oil has been in­cor­po­rated and you have a thick, glossy mix­ture, sea­son to taste. If you’d pre­fer a thin­ner con­sis­tency, beat in a lit­tle wa­ter, lemon juice or vine­gar.

6 Don’t panic if the mayo splits

If your may­on­naise splits, it’s eas­ily res­cued, as long as you have an­other egg yolk. Crack this into a fresh bowl, whisk for a minute un­til thick and sticky, then grad­u­ally beat in the split may­on­naise a lit­tle at a time, fol­lowed by any re­main­ing oil.

7 Al­ter­na­tively, use a stick blender

If you have a stick blender, put all the in­gre­di­ents ex­cept the ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil into a jug just slightly wider than the blender head. Plunge the blender down to the base of the jug, then turn on and, keep­ing the blender still, blend on high power for 10 sec­onds, un­til you can see the mix­ture start to emul­sify.

8 Fin­ish by hand

Once the may­on­naise be­gins to bil­low out from the sides of the blender, very slowly move the head up­wards through the oil un­til you have a creamy may­on­naise (re­peat this process, if nec­es­sary). Beat in the ex­travir­gin olive oil by hand, then sea­son to taste.

9 Cus­tomise to taste

May­on­naise is easy to tai­lor to need or oc­ca­sion: fold in a clove of crushed gar­lic, or a hand­ful of chopped herbs, the zest of an un­waxed lemon, black pep­per, chilli sauce, horse­rad­ish or wasabi, smoked pa­prika and lime juice, crum­bled blue cheese and chives, curry pow­der, finely chopped ca­pers an­chovies or cor­ni­chons, whole­grain mus­tard – but prefer­ably not all at once.

Slowly add the oil drop by drop, whisk­ing con­stantly, un­til the may­on­naise emul­si­fies, then add the rest more quickly Fi­nally, add any other flavour­ings that take your fancy. The mayo will keep in a jar in the fridge for up to a week

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