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March 1, 2007

Mayonnaise (Recipe: Caesar dip)

Mayo

I'm a liar, and a cheat.

I've been lying to my Miracle Whip, promising it was the only spread for me. But — and please don't spread this around — I've been having a love affair with Hellman's real mayonnaise for years.

I am shameless. I keep both in the same refrigerator, though never close enough to run into each other. The Miracle Whip sits in the door, while the mayo hides in the rear of the fridge above the crisper. I separate them not only out of kindness, but as a practical measure; the jars are almost identical — blue cap, white-ish contents, blue/red/yellow label — which I'm sure is no coincidence. (Which came first? Hellman's, in 1912; MW followed along in 1933.)

Mayonnaise is a sauce made by emulsifying egg yolks, oil, and lemon juice or vinegar — plus, occasionally, mustard, salt and pepper. It's one of the foundations of French cooking, forming the basis for a dozen or more sauces (remoulade, maltaise, andalouse, etc.) when additional ingredients are incorporated.

According to Larousse Gastronomique, there are several theories about how mayonnaise got its name, but here's my favorite: it was named for the Duke of Richelieu, who captured Port Mahon on the island of Minorca in 1756. Either the duke or his chef created the sauce, and named it mahonnaise.

Homemade anything tastes better than storebought, and the same is true of mayo. However, prepared mayonnaise has two major advantages. First, it's made with pasteurized eggs, which eliminates the risk of salmonella. Second, store-bought will keep in the fridge for 6 months after the jar is opened; homemade will last for 3 days, tops.

Mayonnaise is more than a slather; try it the next time you're making dips, crab cakes, baked chicken, or cake. Without mayo, there would be no tofu egg salad, no California rolls, and no point in driving up to Maine just for the amazing lobster rolls at Red's Eats in Wiscasset.

Caesar dip

Quick and easy, made with prepared mayonnaise. Serve with steamed new potatoes, cubes of bread, asparagus, or endive leaves. Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp anchovy paste, or 2 anchovy fillets, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours, to allow flavors to combine.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

Comments

Ah! At last something I recognise from across the pond! Its a staple in my 'fridge too (although not at the back as things tend to freeze there!) Summer sandwiches with any kind of leaf and cold, fresh tomatoes wouldn't be the same without it, and even on cold winter's nights with a slice of home-made pizza - superb.

I "love" mayo....have you ever tried it in mashed potatoes? It really creams it up some and everyone asks me "what did you put in the mashed potatoes.....?" I have to confess that I put a lot in, along with butter and some cream or milk, and, lots of black pepper and Lawry salt as well, it's shameful! Don't forget more butter on top.

(I use the Hellman's Lite...it's the best I think)

A must have item in our household always stands next to Heinz tomato ketchup in the fridge. Try it with lime and chilli. It's out of this world. Well, i think so anyway. :)

I once made all the mayo we used and it really is amazing.

i love LOVE mayo. i loved it moreso after once tasting miracle whip, which to me tastes awful. i will have to try homemade mayo sometime.

Homemade is wonderful! And it's amazingly easy to make to, as I learned from my father-in-law. Who believes that salmonella is Americans being hypochondriacs, so doesn't worry about it. And he doesn't keep it in the refrigerator because that would ruin the flavor. :) I DO worry about salmonella, but I have to admit it tastes wonderful.

Between me and you, I've only tried to make mayo once and it was horrible abhorration. I stick to the Hellmans!

Lydia,

I always have mayo at home - my husband loves it!
I've never tried making mayo from scratch, maybe I will sometime.

I've seen a sweet cake recipe that called for mayonnaise and thought it was crazy! But I have a friend who gave it a try and she told me it's a very light cake.

Lydia, i love mayo (full fat version for me, pls!). I always have a bottle of Japanese Mayo at home (saltier than the standard western) for my sushi. :D

Lydia, I do the same, only the mayo and the MW know all about each other. Now there's a menage a trois in my fridge: Smart Balance has a spread.

Ooh, la la!

Ian, I'm with you -- tomato and mayo sandwiches in summer are the absolute best.

Pam, I've never tried it in mashed potatoes, but oh my, this sounds absolutely sinful. And butter on top, too? Wow!

Mae, ketchup and mayo keep company in my fridge, too. I like to mix them together for the kind of "Russian" dressing we ate all the time when I was growing up (and I occasionally still indulge).

Tanna, homemade is always best. Do you still make all of your own?

Stefanie, MW is something I grew up with, and I love the taste. To me, mayonnaise is a completely different food product -- and I love the taste of that, too! Homemade is easy, but I never bother to do it except if I'm making aioli.

Laura, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. I don't worry about salmonella if I'm using good farm eggs that have been stored properly. (I do think that Americans are hypochondriacs about many food things, tho.)

Freya, Hellman's is so reliable. I always have some on hand.

Patricia, I've seen some recipes for baking with mayo, but I've never tried it either. Please let me know if you do -- you are such a wonderful baker!

Anh, I go with the full-fat mayo too. If I'm going to have the calories, I want them all... and the lower fat versions have an off-taste, I think. I love the Japanese mayo -- the one that comes in a squeeze bottle, right?

Mimi, I know you're a MW lover, too. (We need to have T-shirts that say something like "Miracle Whip, and proud of it!") I haven't added Smart Balance to my pantry yet.


I almost forgot to say that the special sauce at Burger King (I haven't been there in a long time, I promise) is made up of mayo and ketchup, they put it on the Whopper...good on a cheeseburger, too.

I have made chocolate cakes with mayonnaise -- it's a quick way to add fat/oil and no one would ever know that you used a "secret ingredient."

Mayo! Food of the gods! Right away I'm thinking of a tomato sandwich with lots of mayo. It was good to see the Hellman's label. I was so shocked to come here to California and find that it's not sold here. Instead, it's called Best Foods. Same lable, different name!

I couldn't agree more about homemade, but for info, my mom-in-law makes hers with COOKED yolks, and I think they're even better despite the occasional lumps! So no need to worry about salmonella, I guess. Just a tip, though - olive oil is not ideal for mayonnaise, it's too heavy, so trying to make an emulsion from it is as good as trying to light a match on a bar of soap, haha (experience speaking)

Another recipe for Hellmann's...one that is absolutely wonderful for a party. I actually wake up craving it in the morning (sick, I know).

1 cup of sweet onion chopped
1 cup of Hellmann's
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated
1 can quarted artichokes in water, sliced
Chilli pepper to taste and add some color.

Just add it all and bake for 3-40 minutes until golden brown on the top.

Serve with crackers, bread or whatever else you happen to like.

Very tasty.

All hail the Hellmann's! +bowing down+

I'm with you all of you: tomato and mayo sandwiches in summer are the absolute best!

My mantra is "When in doubt, add more mayonnaise"

Pam....Burger King?! I'm surprised! Thanks for your recipe -- looks yummy.

T.W. -- chocolate cake with mayo is something I definitely have to try. (And why doesn't anyone make a chocolate mayo? I just thought of that!)

Sher, I think Best is the same product on the West Coast, just a different brand name. But I'll always think of it as Hellman's. Nothing beats mayo and a ripe tomato.

Shilpa, I've never heard of mayo made with cooked yolks. What a nifty idea? And if you do it in a food processor, the yolks would pulverize and become a thickener, yes? I'm going to try it, if I ever run out of Hellman's.

Tom, love your mantra!

Lydia, you hit a gustatory chord for all of us. I love the creamy delicious stuff, both of them. But are you kidding me, 6 months refrig life once opened? Yikes!

We really try to limit our use of mayo, but when you're in the mood for it--for sandwiches or potato salad, for intance--only the real stuff will do.

I'd love to taste fresh/home-made mayo one day... but not to be done by me. You know, just let me eat it and don't tell me what in it :D

Callipygia, I'm surprised at how many mayo lovers are out there! Yes, we all cook wonderful, healthy, even beautiful food most of the time, but we're not ashamed to admit that we also love some things that aren't on the "world's healthiest foods" list. Yes, a 6-month fridge live is what Hellman's says, but I think I've kept it in the fridge for longer than that.

Terry, Julia Child used to say the same thing about butter vs. margarine. If you're going to have it, have the real stuff.

Gattina, it really is easy to make from scratch, especially with a food processor, but I hardly ever do it. Once a year, one of my cooking groups does a Grand Aioli, and we make the aioli (garlic mayo, really), by hand with a giant mortar and pestle. It takes at least 45 minutes of drizzling in all of the oil to get it incorporated! By machine, it's just a couple of minutes.

I love looking at all of your products. BTW, mayonnaise in France is often sold in tubes, like toothpaste -- actually quite practical and easier to use decoratively. It is more yellow and has more of an olive-oil taste. A lot of French people actually make their own mayonnaise, as people aren't afraid of raw eggs here.

Betty, I've always loved that many products in Europe are sold in the tube -- tuna, some kinds of cheese spreads, and yes, mayo. One of my favorite products that's finally becoming more common here is tomato paste in a tube -- ever so practical! I think our fear of raw eggs is justified, given how long egs sit in storage before they reach us in the market. I'm never afraid of farm eggs.

LOL! I only use Helmann's when I'm cooking... I'm a miracle whip fan. I used to eat plain Miracle Whip sandwiches when I was little!

Mayo is, of course, wonderful...and homemade is best. And yes, I make it....
But I really miss Miracle Whip and always buy some for my sandwhiches, salads, whatever when I am visiting the U.S....kind of a closet treat. MW on freshly picked leaf lettuce....

I couldn´t live wihout a jar of mayo in the fridge. I like to doctor it with lemon juice and good olive oil, and it tastes al-most like homemade.

Kristen and Katie, welcome to the MW Support Group! I love it and I'm not ashamed to admit it. But I do love my mayo, too.

Ximena, I love starting with a pantry ingredient and doctoring it to taste more fresh and homemade.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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