07 April 2011

Mayonnaise - Jar or home-made?

I've tried to make mayonnaise several times in my life. Sometimes it works, and less times it doesn't. There's really no excuse for not making it, of course, because even when it doesn't work, the ways to fix it are easy (I love the way this lovely lady makes her mayo). Except, it's fairly easy to buy good mayonnaise in a jar. But is it good?

Jar mayonnaise is fine for sandwiches, and as an ingredient to mix into other dressings, but when the mayonnaise is the main ingredient in a sauce or dressing, it is obvious when it's store-bought. The other reason to make your own mayo is when you want to play with the consistency. For example, in a potato salad I like my mayonnaise loose and runny - if it's too thick, then when combining, it buffs up the edges of the potatoes, and besides, it's just far too stodgy.

So here's how the slap-dash cook makes potato salad:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp mirin or Japanese sweet sauce
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped capers
  • 1 tbsp seeded mustard
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 4 large potatoes - cooked firm, cooled and diced
  • ground white pepper to taste

  1. Using a whisk beat the egg yolks and salt until they are creamy. Then start drizzling the olive oil in bit by bit (not too fast, or the mayo will 'split' or 'break' - link above has the solution to this). This will involve about 5 minutes of continuous beating, so if you are a weakling, use an electric whisk. I like a texture that is creamy, but without peaks. If you like it thicker and whiter, add more oil and keep whisking.
  2. Add lemon juice, mirin and mustard while whisking.
  3. Combine with the other ingredients, potatoes last of all.

This mayonnaise is an olive-oil based one, and so will carry the pepperiness and bitterness of the oil. If you like it milder, then use canola or sunflower oil. I take the skins off my potatoes, but they could easily be left on.  This is a tart potato salad, and you could also add mild green olives if you like them, or stir through some cooled roast chicken chunks to turn it into a meal.

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