Knowing that there’s a lot of leftover bird on the way in a few days, I’m stocking up on the secret ingredient for good turkey salad – homemade mayo.
It’s all about simplicity… there’s really nothing to it. Egg yolk, a little bit of liquid & some oil. That’s all you need. There’s plenty else you can add and actually… the possibilities are pretty much endless. Once you have the base, you can flavor it however you want… chili paste, curry powder… We’re making Belgian fries now on the Pie Truck and I’m experimenting with all kinds of crazy mayos…
Yeah sure – old news, bla bla, making mayonnaise… but it’s such a cool transformation I can’t help but geek over it a little bit. I know it’s one of the food-nerdiest things I could say, but – I love emulsions! Every time I’m still amazed that it works.
– All ingredients should be room temperature. This helps speed up the emulsion.
– You don’t need any more than one or two egg yolks* (unless you want to make gallons of mayo) More yolks will just make it more colorful & more rich.
– The key isn’t the yolk-to-oil ratio, it’s the water-to-oil ratio. The yolk just gets you started. As you add the oil, you have to make sure you have enough other liquid in there to keep it stable. According to Harold McGee, for every volume of oil you add, there should be about 1/3 as much in combination of yolk and water-based liquid (water, vinegar, lemon juice, etc)
– You can use extra virgin olive oil to flavor your mayo but it shouldn’t be the only oil unless you plan to eat it all right away… start with something else (vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, etc) and then flavor it with olive oil at the end. Unrefined, extra virgin olive oil is unstable and the mayo won’t hold up unless you plan to eat it all right away.
– It’s easy to make with a whisk, but a food processor makes it even easier – the only catch is that it’s tough to do a small amount if you have a full-size food processor because the blade just doesn’t pick up the liquid in the beginning.
1. Start with yolk and salt – mix oil in a drop or two at a time at first and then more little by little until it starts to thicken. Starting it this way makes a more stable emulsion. Trust me, it works.**
2. When this starts to get thick, add your liquid to thin it out and then continue with the oil, a little at a time. The amount of liquid at first should just be enough to thin it out a little bit. You can increase the amount of oil you add at once as the volume of your mayo grows.
3. As the volume increases, continue to go back and forth between thickening with oil, and then thinning with a little more liquid until you have the amount you want and the consistency you want.
4. Adjust the seasoning with salt and whatever else you want to add and then put on a movie, grab a spoon and go to town.
There are so many things you can do with mayo and once you start making your own, I promise you’ll be way less grossed out about using it in your food. You can thicken sauces and soups with it, add it to dressings to give them body, spread it on fish before roasting… or, do what I’m gonna to do – chop up your leftover Thanksgiving bird and twist up a batch of turkey salad… if I can keep myself from putting it all in my cereal in the morning.
*A note on yolks – there’s always a slight risk of salmonella when using raw eggs but to easily avoid it – use fresh and, if possible, organic eggs and keep your mayo in the refrigerator when you’re not eating it. Vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
**”The salt causes the yolk granules to fall apart into its component particles, which makes the yolks become both more clear and more viscous. If left undiluted, this viscosity will help break the oil into smaller droplets.” –McGee. Aren’t you glad you asked?