Imperial Mayonnaise

An elegant jellied sauce, or salad-dressing


Put into a bowl half a pint of aspic, or of any very clear pale jellied stock (that made usually for good white soup will serve for the purpose excellently); add to it a couple of spoonsful of the purest olive-oil, one of sharp vinegar, and a little fine salt and cayenne. Break up the jelly quite small with the points of a whisk of osier-twigs stir the ingredients well together, and then whisk them gently until they are converted into a smooth white sauce. This receipt was derived originally from an admirable French cook,* who stood quite at the head of his profession: but as he was accustomed to purvey for the tables of kings and emperors, his directions require some curtailment and simplifying to adapt them to the resources of common English life. He directs the preparation to be mixed and worked—to use a technical expression—over ice, which cannot always be commanded, except in opulent establishments, and in large towns. It is not, however, essential to the success of this sauce, which will prove extremely good if made and kept in a cool larder; or, if the bowl in which it is mingled be placed in a pan of cold water, into which plenty of saltpetre and sal-ammoniac, roughly powdered, are thrown at the moment it is set into it. In this country a smaller proportion of oil, and a larger one of acid, are usually preferred to the common French salad-dressings, in which there is generally a very small portion of vinegar. To some tastes a spoonful or two of cream would improve the present Mayonnaise, which way be varied also with chili, tarragon, or other flavoured vinegar. It should be served heaped high in the centre of the salad, for which, if large, double the quantity directed here should be prepared.

* Monsieur Caréme, to whose somewhat elaborate but admirable works, published thirty years or more since, all modern cooks appear to be specially indebted.