One of America’s Favorites – Mayonnaise

October 29, 2012 at 10:37 AM | Posted in cooking, Food | 1 Comment
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Mayonnaise often abbreviated as mayo, is a thick creamy sauce often used as a condiment. It originates from Mahon, Spain. It is a

Standard ingredients and tools to make mayonnaise.

stable emulsion of oil, egg yolk and either vinegar or lemon juice, with many options for embellishment with other herbs and spices. Lecithin in the egg yolk is the emulsifier. Mayonnaise varies in color but is often white, cream, or pale yellow. It may range in texture from that of light cream to thick. In countries influenced by French culture, mustard is also a common ingredient. In Spain and Italy, olive oil is used as the oil and mustard is never included. Numerous other sauces can be created from it with addition of various herbs, spices, and finely chopped pickles. Where mustard is used, it is also an emulsifier.

 

The origin of mayonnaise is the town of Mahon in Menorca (Spain), after Armand de Vignerot du Plessis‘s victory over the British at the city’s port in 1756. According to this version, the sauce was originally known as “salsa mahonesa” in Spanish and “maonesa” in Catalan (as it is still known in Menorca), later becoming mayonnaise as it was popularized by the French. The French Larousse Gastronomique suggests: “Mayonnaise, in our view, is a popular corruption of moyeunaise, derived from the very old French word moyeu, which means yolk of egg.” The sauce may have been christened mayennaise after Charles de Lorraine, duke of Mayenne, because he took the time to finish his meal of chicken with cold sauce before being defeated in the Battle of Arques.

Nineteenth-century culinary writer Pierre Lacam suggested that in 1459, a London woman named Annamarie Turcauht stumbled upon this condiment after trying to create a custard of some sort.

According to Trutter et al.: “It is highly probable that wherever olive oil existed, a simple preparation of oil and egg came about – particularly in the Mediterranean region, where aioli (oil and garlic) is made.”

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, mayonnaise was in use in English as early as 1823 in the journal of Lady Blessington.

Mayonnaise can be made by hand with a mortar and pestle, whisk or fork, or with the aid of an electric mixer or blender. Mayonnaise is

Making mayonnaise with a whisk.

made by slowly adding oil to an egg yolk, while whisking vigorously to disperse the oil. The oil and the water in yolks form a base of the emulsion, while lecithin and protein from the yolks are the emulsifiers that stabilizes it. Additionally, a bit of a mustard may also be added to sharpen its taste, and further stabilize the emulsion. Mustard contains small amounts of lecithin. It is a process that requires watching; if the liquid starts to separate and look like pack-ice, or curd, it simply requires starting again with an egg yolk, whisking it, slowly adding the ‘curd’ while whisking, and the mixture will emulsify to become mayonnaise. If water is added to the yolk it can emulsify more oil, thus making more mayonnaise.

A classic European recipe is essentially the same as the basic one described above, but it uses olive oil with vinegar or lemon juice. It is essential to beat the mayonnaise using a whisk while adding the olive oil a little (e.g. a teaspoon) at a time, then it is possible to add the oil more quickly while briskly whisking to incorporate the oil into the emulsion. If there are two people in the kitchen, one person can slowly pour the oil while the other does the whisking. Experienced cooks can judge when the mayonnaise is done by the emulsion’s resistance to the beating action. Herbs and spices can be added at any stage and the vinegar may have already been infused with sprigs of French tarragon, or the oil may have been infused with garlic.

Homemade mayonnaise can approach 85% fat before the emulsion breaks down; commercial mayonnaise is more typically 70-80% fat. “Low fat” mayonnaise products contain starches, cellulose gel, or other ingredients to simulate the texture of real mayonnaise.

Some recipes, both commercial and homemade, use the whole egg, including the white. It can also be made using solely egg whites, with no yolks at all, if it is done at high speed in a food processor. The resulting texture appears to be the same and, if seasoned with salt, pepper, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar and a little paprika, for example, the taste is similar to traditional mayonnaise made with egg yolks.

Commercial producers either pasteurize the yolks, freeze them and substitute water for most of their liquid, or use other emulsifiers. They also typically use soybean oil, for its lower cost, instead of olive oil.

Commercial mayonnaise sold in jars originated in Philadelphia in 1907 when Amelia Schlorer decided to start selling her own mayonnaise recipe originally used in salads sold in the family grocery store. Mrs. Schlorer’s Mayonnaise was an instant success with local customers and eventually grew into the Schlorer Delicatessen Company. Around the same time in New York City, a family from Vetschau, Germany, at Richard Hellmann’s delicatessen on Columbus Avenue, featured his wife’s homemade recipe in salads sold in their deli. The condiment quickly became so popular that Hellmann began selling it in “wooden boats” that were used for weighing butter. In 1912, Mrs. Hellmann’s mayonnaise was mass marketed and later was trademarked in 1926 as Hellmann’s Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise.

At about the same time that Mrs. Schlorer’s and Hellmann’s Mayonnaise were thriving on the East Coast of the United States, a California company, Best Foods, introduced their own mayonnaise, which turned out to be very popular in the western United States. In 1932, Best Foods bought the Hellmann’s brand. By then, both mayonnaises had such commanding market shares in their own half of the country that it was decided that both brands be preserved. The company is now owned by Unilever.

In the Southeastern part of the United States, Mrs. Eugenia Duke of Greenville, South Carolina, founded the Duke Sandwich Company in 1917 to sell sandwiches to soldiers training at nearby Fort Sevier. Her homemade mayonnaise became so popular that her company began to focus exclusively on producing and selling the mayonnaise, eventually selling out to the C.F. Sauer Company of Richmond, Virginia, in 1929. Duke’s Mayonnaise, remains a popular brand of mayonnaise in the Southeast, although it is not generally available in other markets.

In addition to an almost ubiquitous presence in American sandwiches, mayonnaise forms the basis of Northern Alabama’s signature White Barbeque sauce. It is also used to add stability to American-style buttercream and occasionally in cakes as well.

 

 

Apple Chicken Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast or chicken tenders
1/4 cup finely-diced Red Delicious apple
1/4 cup finely-diced celery
1/4 cup finely-diced sweet onions
1/4 cup ranch dressing, lite or reduced
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise, reduced fat or fat free
Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
Walnut pieces, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, or your favorite salad fixings

Preparation:
Gently toss chicken breast, apple, celery, sweet onions, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, salt, and pepper until well-combined.

Serve with salad greens, walnuts, tomatoes, and olives or as a filler for sandwiches.

Yield: 4 servings

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