Emulsions: The origin of the Mayonnaise

Hoy voy a publicar un artículo que escribí para un portal gastronómico de Estados Unidos sobre las emulsiones y las Mayonesas. Un artículo interesante a mi parecer sobre la historia de la Mayonesa, que todo el mundo piensa que es de origen francés,  y además una receta de Mayonesa Alioli moderna.



Emulsions: The origin of the Mayonnaise

Vincent: You know what they put on French fries in Holland instead of ketchup?

Jules: What?

Vincent: Mayonnaise.

Jules: Goddamn.

Vincent: I’ve seen ‘em do it, man. They fuckin’ drown ‘em in that shit.

Besides Vincent Vega´s opinion in Pulp Fiction, Mayonnaise is one of the best loved sauces in the US and in the world.  It’s origin is debated among food scholars but many agree that it´s safe to say that it was born in Mahón, in the spanish island of Menorca.  Some stories say that the last grandson nephew of cardinal Richelieu, the Duke of Richelieu, after the invasion of the Balearic islands by the French in 1756,  went to a restaurant in Mahón and asked for a meal worthy of himself. The cook gave him his best along with a creamy sauce made with eggs.  The Duke was so impressed that he made the cook write the recipe and took it back to France.  In France, it was called Mayonnaise, it became popular very quickly and became a part of the French traditional cuisine.  

The islands of Mallorca, Menorca en Ibiza in the Mediterranean

It basically works out as an emulsion of water and oil which normally doesn?t blend, but along with an egg yolk, it makes it work and blends into an unctuous and delicious emulsion which goes wonderfully well with a number of dishes.

You can prepare many variations of Mayo:
You can add more lemon an call it Lemon Mayo,
You can add spices to make it a curry, sriracha, wasabi, dill or herbs Mayo.
You can add hot sauce, paprika, capers, pickles, terragon, and Worcestershire sauce and call it remoulade.
You can add capers and pickles and make a Tartar sauce.
You can add french Dijon Mustard and call it Dijonnaise.
Or you can use garlic and make an Alioli sauce.
Traditional mayonnaise made in mortar
Traditional mayonnaise made in mortar

I am going to take some time to talk about the Alioli because it actually isn?t a variation of mayonnaise but a preceding recipe which many people say is the origin of the Mahón Mayonnaise.

Catalans in Spain have been making this delicious sauce since the XIV century and it is basically an emulsion of lots of garlic in a mortar, without eggs, only adding and stirring extra virgin Olive Oil very slowly until you get to emulsify the garlic and create a sauce. Originally called All-i-oli which stands literally for ?garlic and oil?, it is still very widely used in Catalonia and Spain in general.  It is difficult to make and expensive if done correctly. It is traditionally served with black squid paella, with cod or other fish, or over fried potatoes en spicy tomato sauce in the famous Patatas Bravas.  

Mise en Place of the Mayonnaise


Modern Alioli Mayonnaise recipe:

Makes 1 cup

1 small egg

1 cup of olive oil

1 small garlic clove

1 spoon of vinegar or lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Break the egg in a small bowl. Add two spoons of olive oil, the garlic clove, and the spoon of vinegar.
With the aid of the hand blender, blend the ingredients at high speed until the mix is smooth,  then start adding the oil slowly in a thin thread until the mix becomes an unctuous sauce. Add a drop of water if it gets too dense.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Sometimes the Mayo tends to break up and separate. Don´t panic, there are several ways to solve it.
Use ingredients at the same temperature.
Add the whole egg and not just the yolk.
If it separates, add a few drops of warm water and blend until it emulsifies again.
Or add another egg and blend again.Follow this videos if you need any further help with emulsions.

Chef José Andrés making Mayo:   starts at min: 2:28

Chef Gordon Ramsey makes Mayo:

Bon Apettit!!

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