Mayonnaise

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The Californian food scientist Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking and, to my mind, as influential a writer as Elizabeth David, has experimented on mayonnaise to discover just how much oil and egg yolk can emulsify. The answer was gallons, so it is the ratio of liquid to oil that is crucial when it comes to successful blending of mayonnaise. That and the flavour of course.

Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
  • 300ml (11 fl oz/1⅓ cups) sunflower oil
  • salt and pepper

Method

Whisk together the egg yolks, mustard and seasoning. Whisk in the oil, initially drop by drop, then as the emulsion becomes stronger, add it more quickly.

Variations

Thousands. Crushed garlic or almost any herb can be included. Tartare sauce is made by adding chopped gherkin, capers and parsley. Cocktail sauce – the sweetish pink gunk that usually coats prawn cocktails – is mayonnaise with tomato ketchup and a little extra Worcestershire sauce.

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