meta name="p:domain_verify" content="8b08da541f8a920e6 Marie Z Johnston: Mad for Eggs - Mayonnaise

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mad for Eggs - Mayonnaise

I have two women friends who are simply mad for Oeufs Mayonnaise... a dish I never much paid attention to since my year in French boarding school where it was often featured as the entrée... plainly put: I just didn't get it. Lately I've taken a different view of the venerable dish.  As Julia (yes, that Julia) puts it "this makes a nice little something with which to start a meal" she found that it seems to make everything more festive.  

These eggs have the dreaded green edge on the yolk -more on that later
Well, I don't know about festive, but it is awfully delicious. Providing of course, that the mayonnaise is, as the French say, correct and the eggs perfectly cooked. So, with those principles in mind I set out to make the famous Oeufs.

1st:  Hard boil some eggs.  Seems simple enough.  

No dreaded green edge here
You would think, with all those years of professional cooking (not to mention dozens of egg decorating Easters with my kids) up my sleeve, I'd have hard boiled eggs down.  Well, think again. 

Note the firm, but delicate white with the perfect (off center) yolk
The ideal hard boiled egg has 5 measurements of perfection: a centered, moist yolk surrounded by a firm (but delicate) white with no greenish discoloration separating the two and the shell peels off easily. I've always had trouble with the peeling part and the off center yolk... which, when your talking Easter eggs is no big deal, but in Oeufs Mayonnaise is "un désastre"
La Julia recommends cracking the eggs slightly while they cool in water...
After trying several "fool proof" methods (including Julia's), this is the one that worked best for me:  How to make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs, by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes. Since today I'm focusing on the Mayonnaise, you'll have to go check in with Elise if you need egg coaching.
Cover the eggs completely with cold water & generously salt the water
Known in some circles as the mother sauce, Mayonnaise has a 'rich' history.  Some say it was invented in France around 1756 by one of the Richelieu's, others say it hails from Spain as far back as 1459.  In either case, this rich emulsion of egg yolk and oil is the foundation of many other sauces and dressings, served both hot and cold.

Sun dried tomato mayonnaise (with a little garlic & fresh thyme)
Mayonnaise, the real stuff, has absolutely nothing to do with that goop you buy in a jar.  To begin with, it's not white.  It's also not sweet.  Real mayonnaise is unctuous and sensual on the tongue, it can be mild if made with plain vegetable oil, or it can have a wonderful olive oil aftertaste - which is the way I like it. You can serve it up plain or dress it up with, say, lemon juice, garlic and chili powder (et voila: Aioli!) or try some sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil for a zippy sandwich spread.

Individual Oeufs Mayonnaise on little toasts

How to make Mayonnaise: 

I have tried 2 methods: By hand and by food processor.  Food processor won years ago.***

Delicious home made mayonnaise in less than 5 minutes!

3 room temperature raw eggs (separate 2 of the eggs)
1 tsp Dijon style mustard
1 tsp salt
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 - 4 cups oil (Extra virgin olive oil or other vegetable oil of your choosing)

In the processor bowl:
2 yolks and one whole egg
Mustard & salt

While the motor is running slowly pour in the oil. 
After about 2 cups, check for thickness
(the mayonnaise should be smooth, creamy and fairly thick.  You are adding the additional oil to thin it a bit - so, if you like your mayonnaise on thick side, stop now with the oil)

Add the lemon juice

Add another cup of oil.

At this point you should adjust the seasoning.
Add more mustard, or lemon juice or salt if you want.

AND...Voila! A classic mayonnaise made in less than 5 minutes, that will keep for several weeks in a jar in your fridge.

A whisk does a mighty fine job on mayonnaise

You will find that this mayonnaise is delicious on cold crab, in sandwiches, with left-over chicken or with, say, caramelized onions stirred in as a dip, or in deviled eggs or as the star ingredient on the classic Oeufs Mayonnaise.

Now, to devise something to do with all those egg whites (don't even think of asking how many I have).  Pavlova anyone?  To be continued....

A bientot,

*** NOTE:  If you haven't got a food processor, the method is basically the same (just omit the egg white) except you're doing it all by hand so pour the oil into the egg a whole lot slower.  If you have a third arm (hopefully a friends) this can be very useful for adding the oil while whisking, if not the process just takes longer.


Gina said...

And I can attest to the fact that these oeufs mayonnaise and all of the mayonnaises (is that the plural?) were simply divine!

Anonymous said...

Looks great especially the photo with the toast. Tried the arugula and speck this past weekend - great meal. J & B

Marie Z said...

Thank you Gina... That was great fun!

J & B, Glad you enjoyed the Arugula & Speck. Try the Oeufs Mayonnaise with a crisp, spicy Riesling.. DIVINE!

zan said...

The reference to good with fresh crab was spot on. What a delight and so easy and authentic alternative to store-bought Just got to figure what to do with the egg whites. Zan

Matthew said...

You can also stick 2 whole eggs(or just the yolks) into a wide mouth mason jar or tall cup(either need to fit an immersion blender aka stick blender through the top) followed by the oil, lemon juice(or lime juice or vinegar), and mustard. Then keeping the immersion blender at the bottom of the cup/vessel turn it on until it starts to emulsify and just slowly bring the immersion blender up until it is either fully emulsified or there is a little oil on top in which case you just push the blender down over the oil(sometimes there is just a spot or two) and it will mix the oil in and be fully emulsified.

Marie Z Johnston said...

Hi Matthew! Gotta live an immersion blender! And what a genius idea to make it in a mason jar! No bowls to wash and one made, just screw on the lid! Love it! Thanks so much!

Pamela Gerard said...

Wow -- what a great idea -- thanks Matthew and Marie.