Most people think of mayonnaise as a spread you buy in a jar, that you put on your sandwiches. But it is oh so much more, especially when it is made fresh, from scratch. To the French and many others around the world, and especially to anyone who has been trained in the culinary arts, mayonnaise is one of the classic sauces. It is very versatile and can be used for anything from salads to soups. You can also add many different ingredients to mix it up and make it more lively too.
Mayonnaise and aioli are sauces that are very similar in consistency, yet the flavors are totally different. Although aioli and mayonnaise are both creamy emulsions, aioli is made from garlic and olive oil while mayo is made from egg yolks and canola oil, though often times, aioli is also made with egg yolks. The final result may look similar but the two sauces have distinctly different flavors. Garlic and olive oil are used in just about everything I cook, so when I make a “mayonnaise”, I am really making an aioli, because I make it with garlic and olive oil. When we buy mayonnaise from a jar, we are used to it being kind of thick and creamy. But often when you make it from scratch, it is a little more loose and “pourable”, especially if you whisk it all together. It becomes a little thicker when you mix it all together in either a blender or a food processor, because more air is whipped into the mixture. The keys to making a good mayonnaise or aioli are to slowly dribble the oil into the mixture as you are mixing it together, and to use eggs at room temperature. By slowly dribbling the oil into the mixture you only get the amount you need and the sauce is less likely to break down. But have no fear. If the sauce does break down, and becomes more liquidy than you like, there are a couple of ways you can fix it. You can either add another egg yolk and some more mustard or you can have a TBSP of warm water in another bowl and gradually add the broken sauce to the water and mix it in. Both are tried and true methods of fixing a broken mayonnaise.
Because the temperatures are now soaring, I did not want to spend a lot of time cooking over a hot stove. So I made a cool and easy dinner. One of the dishes I made was a red potato salad with a smokey red pepper aioli, also known as a French rouille. I served this along side some grilled spicy chicken sausages and a corn and tomato salad, finishing it off with a cool, crisp barrel aged Chenin Blanc. It was a perfectly cool and simple meal to enjoy on a hot summer day.
Smokey Red Pepper Aioli Sauce
1 roasted red pepper, peeled and seeded
2 egg yolks
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 TBSP garlic
salt and black pepper to taste
1-1 1/4 cups olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp Tabasco Sauce or other spicy pepper sauce, or to taste
You can either whisk it all together or blend it in a food processor or blender. Add all the ingredients together except the olive oil. Dribble the olive oil in as needed while mixing.
Once the sauce is made, you can add it to whatever you like. Keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. I mixed mine into a potato salad to give it a new twist.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.