Saturday, November 26, 2011
Photo courtesy FreeImagesLive.co.uk
Many people in the U.S. think the best part of Thanksgiving Dinner is the leftover-turkey salad that is made and usually used in sandwiches (for a change, try adding a little ground cumin--yum). To make the salad you have to first make the mayonnaise from scratch--yes, I'm from The South, that's the 15 southern states in the United States (actually I'm from The Deep South: Alabama, aka "The Heart of Dixie"). If I'm not able to make mayonnaise from scratch (which is Never--I always make my mayo from scratch--I'm from The South, remember), then I would, of course, buy Hellmann's (The South, etc...). When I lived in California the mayonnaise to buy was Best Foods, which is Hellmann's west of the Rockies. A lot of people would say just about anything savory can taste better with mayonnaise on it. I've even added a cup of mayo to a chocolate cake recipe, which made it more moist & delicious.
I've always wondered who developed the mayonnaise recipe, and how did they know--or did they know--that the chemical reaction of slowly dribbling oil into beaten eggs would not produce a drippy, oily mess but a fluffy, white emulsion that makes the tongue happy.
The most widely accepted story begins with the British rule of Port Mahon in 1756. The French sent the infamous Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, 3rd Duc de Richelieu (1696-1788) to take the port. During the course of the siege, the French ran short of supplies, but the Duc still wanted to host a banquet. The Duc's chef decided to try whipping eggs and oil together to serve in place of the seasonings that they did not have, and it was a big hit. The French won the Battle of Port Mahon and returned home with, among other things, the new recipe named after the battle and called mayonnaise.
Below is my basic mayonnaise recipe, which is made in a food-processor and can be doubled. There are endless variations, just try an internet search if you don't believe me. Try adding a little onion powder to the recipe: I swear it tastes like fried onion rings, and of course anything savory OR sweet tastes better fried, doesn't matter where you're from.
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 & 1/3 cups Wesson vegetable oil
1. Process eggs for one minute.
2. Add salt and juice and process for 30 seconds.
3. With processor running, add oil in a very tiny steady stream until all oil is used.