Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hold the Mayo?

Years ago when I was working in kitchens my arm muscles were very well developed. This was before food processors and other appliances of convenience--sauces and emulsified mixtures like mayonnaise were made using whips and whisks and tons of arm strength. Mayonnaise took forever! Of course, it was always worth it, but it was a time consuming and tiring process.

Although most people rely on the easy availability of store bought commercial mayonnaise, where sugar is generally the third or fourth ingredient, I find this product lacking. The flavor, texture and consistency leave a great deal to be desired and the nutritional values are less than satisfactory. And, to be honest it falls into my scary food category. Fresh mayonnaise has such a wonderfully subtle flavor and, thanks to kitchen appliances like food processors and blenders, mayonnaise is now easy to make.

This recipe makes about a cup and it will keep nicely in the coldest part of your refrigerator for about two weeks. Experiment with different vinegars. White wine or red wine vinegar is what I normally use due to the mild flavor it imparts. You can also use fresh lemon juice. Balsamic vinegar turns the mayo a light brown, but gives a very nice flavor for pasta salads and salad dressings. As for the oil--I generally use olive oil, but other oils can be used successfully—canola, vegetable, corn.

My appliance of choice is the food processor. The feed tube pusher has a small hole in its bottom especially designed to allow the oil to fall into the work bowl in a thin stream at the proper rate of speed. If you use a blender, you will have to drizzle the oil into the container very slowly through the opening in the lid with the blade spinning.

Mayonnaise

1 egg

1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

¼ tsp. salt

Pepper

1-1/4 c. olive oil

Set the food processor onto the counter top. Make sure it is level and won’t rock, and insert the metal chopping blade. Crack the egg into the work bowl. Add the vinegar, salt and a good grind of pepper.

Set the lid onto the work bowl and lock it in place. Turn the food processor on and pour the oil into the feed tube pusher. The feed tube will not hold all the oil, so watch and add the remaining oil when the tube will hold it.

The oil in the pusher will fall into the work bowl at the proper rate of speed. About half way through this process, the mixture will begin to emulsify. Do not stop the processor until all the oil has dripped from the pusher tube and the mixture is thick and creamy. Turn off the processor, remove the lid and the metal blade. With a rubber spatula clean off the blade and scrape the mayonnaise from the work bowl into a glass jar. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate.


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