If your car were to break-down for a week and you could not go to the store could you prepare your condiments?
When I was young, let’s say through my early 20s, I thought mayonnaise was some concoction invented by alimentary scientists and that it could only be prepared through some secret, magical recipe held jealously by Kraft or Hellmans. A couple of years into my permanence in Italy I was in a small town, about 3000 people, outside of Milan. A gentile lady in her 70s was preparing Vitello Tonnato for the family, the Matriarchal rule abounds in northern Italy and she was the Boss. I watched, fascinated as she placed eggs yolks in a bowl, added salt and began whisking. I asked what she was preparing.
“Maionese,” she responded.
Mayonnaise, how is that possible? I thought as she slowly drizzled olive oil into the whipped egg yolks.
“Mayonnaise is white; this will be yellow-red!”
I was no dummy! I went to university at 15, always top of my class. I grew up in a southern family with 5 siblings. We all cooked on a regular basis. Mayonnaise is an industrial concoction, made with hydrogenated imgonnamakeyoureallyfat oil, and I have never seen yellow or yellow-red mayonnaise. Fortunately, she spoke only the local dialect and while I understood Brianzolo, I could not speak it fluently enough to contest.
She finished. There, right before my eyes, she had made about a pint of mayonnaise. I tasted it. It was creamy, velvety, rich, flavorful, mayonnaise. This mayonnaise was a delicacy in its own right. I could have eaten just that for dinner. She quickly added some shredded tuna and some capers. She threw veal cutlet into a pan and seared them lightly. She placed the veal onto a serving dish, covered with that heavenly mayonnaise and put it into the refrigerator.
I was amazed, I really like mayonnaise but this was different. I have never had mayonnaise like that. It is not right that something so simple is so marvelous. The next time the mayonnaise is missing from the refrigerator and it is time to prepare the lunch sandwiches, a sinful salad dressing, or perhaps those hamburgers on the grill, try this. Show your prowess as the god or goddess of the kitchen. When the basic ingredients are wholesome and flavorful the end result is no less.
2 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1 cup Olive Oil
Place the yolks in a mixing bowl or food processor. Add a pinch of salt and whip the yolks until creamy. While whisking, drizzle a bit of Olive Oil slowly into the yolks. Before adding additional oil, verify that the previously added oil has been incorporated completely.
An interesting touch to this is to add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice once all of the oil has been incorporated.
Saving a mad mayonnaise:
If the eggs are not fresh, or too much oil was added too quickly, the mayonnaise can go mad. The yolks will separate from the oil and the eggs will seem to curdle. Do not worry. Place the mad mayonnaise in a separate bowl. Clean the mixing bowl with warm water. Dry and add another yolk. Whip the yolk adding a drizzle of oil. Then slowly incorporate the mad mayonnaise into the new mayonnaise.
Tags: Gourmet Foods Condiments Italian Recipes Food and Wine Travel Italy