Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Will the real mayonnaise please...

Hellmann's on the left, Haverchuk's on the right. Or I should say Henderson's, though I don't think mayonnaise really belongs to anyone in particular. The homemade mayo was inspired by Henderson; I wanted not only to see if I could get it to go boing (nope), but to try out his direction to mix with a wooden spoon. Every mayonnaise I had ever made was mixed by whisk and now I can report that a wooden spoon does the trick just as well. And I wanted to put to the test something I read a while back about mayonnaises made with extra virgin olive oil not coming together right. I wish I remember where I read this; could be McGee. Do I need to get up and check? So I was skeptical about this claim and H recommends all extra virgin. Usually I use vegetable oil because extra virgin olive oil has a distinct flavor that I don't associate with mayonnaise. Could be I don't associate it with mayonnaise because all my life I've eaten Hellmann's mayonnaise, which of course is not made with olive oil.

The procedure: combine an egg yolk, a spoonful of dijon, "a gesture of salt," and the juice of half a lemon in a bowl. (My amounts are different from H's, and he calls for half lemon juice and half vinegar.) Mix vigorously with your wooden spoon. Then drizzle in the oil while stirring. He cautions strongly, as do all cookbook authors, against adding the oil too quickly. When I was mostly done, I switched to vegetable oil because the mayo was taking on a greenish cast.

Indeed, I was astounded by the color and the olive-oiliness of the Henderson condiment. It doesn't make sense that this should be called by the same name as the stuff in the jars. It's not that one is better than the other. Hellmann's is sweeter as it contains sugar and it has much more body, as you can see, because it's produced industrially. They both make an excellent tuna salad sandwich, but I don't think I'd be as likely to collect big dollops of the Hellmann's au naturel on carrot and celery sticks and crunch away as I was doing just now between phrases of this post.

Ok, here's McGee:
-p. 634: all ingredients for making mayo should be room temp. All of mine are always cold except the oil, doesn't make a difference that I can tell.
-.p. 635: "Olive Oil Can Made Crazy Mayonnaise." This is interesting: made with olive oil, mayonnaise often "forms properly, but then separates just an hour or two later." Scientific explanations, blah blah blah, molecules, emulsifiers, droplets, blah blah blah, in Italy "the sauce is said to 'go crazy' (impazzire)." It's been about 45 minutes and the mayonnaise is ok. I'll be sure to let you know if it loses its mind.


Blogger Nina said...

Haha, I'm reading McGee a bit now, and I appreciate the reality check.

And a wooden spoon is brave :)

And I was in complete shock when I first made mayo based on a Mark Bittman recipe--I used a food processor, and my olive oil went all over the place around the machine, but when I opened the lid... pristine mayo!

6:58 PM  
Blogger Gourmetish said...

I thought that mayo was only "mayo" when cooked. I make aioli all of the time and it sounds very similar to what you made except that I make it in a food processor (yes, using a spoon is brave and takes patience). The only problem with not making a "cooked" version is that it only lasts two days in the fridge. Nothing beats homemade aioli, though. So here's the question: if "mayo" doesn't have to be cooked, then what is the difference between "aioli" and "mayo"? I'll check McGee and see if it says. If you know the answer please let us know!

4:28 AM  
Blogger mzn said...

Thanks for the wooden spoon compliments, but it really wasn't any different from using a whisk. A whisk is good for beating air into cream and egg whites but clearly it's not necessary for making an emulsion.

By cooked mayo, gourmetish, I'm guessing you mean cooking the egg yolks to kill any bacteria. Two days in the fridge is playing it safe with the raw version but as long as you don't stick your germy finger in it I think it's probably ok to keep for a bit longer.

I don't know what the difference is between mayonnaise and aïoli. If it has no garlic it's obiviously not aïoli but other than that I think they're overlapping terms like ice cream and gelato. I'm no expert in culinary terminology, mind you, I'm just some guy with a blog.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Barbara Fisher said...

Aioli has garlic, mayo does not.

Otherwise, they are the same.

Mayonaisse is not cooked.

Unless it is made in a factory, in which case, it is cooked.

11:25 AM  
Blogger zoe p. said...

um, i'm not sure gelato is ice cream. some ice creams approach gelato, but not many. no gelatos taste like ice cream. it's the mixing and the air in the mixture that make gelato. in some cases i guess ice cream and gelato ingredients are the same, unless you count air as an ingredient. which it might very well be, in my mind.

in case you think i'm taking the discussion to far afield from garlicy-mayonnaise, i refer you to carl van vechten's garlic ice cream (a dressing for salad) in the alice b. toklas cookbook: tomatos, worcestershire, tabsco, salt, onion juice, mayo and something called "cowboys delight" all frozen together and served in avocado halves!!!

5:07 PM  
Blogger mzn said...

Interesting recipe, zp. I've heard of avodaco ice cream served as a garnish for gazpacho but never of ice cream made of mayonnaise served with avocado. I'm tempted to say yuck but not before I find out what "cowboys delight" might be.

As for gelato and ice cream, I agree that Italian gelato is different from most of what is called ice cream around these parts. But their ingredients are quite similar and hardly consistent. Some ice creams contain no eggs, while some gelati contain lots of eggs. Some say gelato should be made with milk but then so is some ice cream. I prefer to think of these as overlapping regional terms (frozen custard too).

11:05 PM  
Blogger zoe p. said...

oh, you know what else i thought of?

in brasil avocados ARE used in sweet frozen shakes and dessert like snacks. or so i hear.

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love using a simple olive oil and lemon juice marinate for grilling kebabs (lamb or beef) and boneless breastesses.

This leads me to wonder if this slightly olive-ey mayo might work wonders on a grilled burger (okay, so it's a pedestrian use of an upscale condiment ;) or a grilled chicken sandwich.

To my palate, the slight green olive flavor of evoo and many meat flavors are complimentary, especially in the presence of a bit of lemon.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Gourmetish said...

That's interesting because my aioli recipes don't have garlic in it. I guess you can call it either mayo or aioli.

7:52 PM  

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