Monday, May 2, 2016

Passover Mayonnaise

Even though I'm not much of a mayo person, I eat a lot of tuna salad during Passover.  The few KLP mayos available are very expensive and you have to brave the kosher markets to find them.

What makes a mayo kitniyot?  Usually, the oil.  Soybean is widely used, even in the ones "made with olive oil".  Cottonseed oil is ok for Passover if you ask the right person, and those are the $6 for a 12 oz jar mayos.  The other ingredient that renders a mayo kitniyot is mustard.  Seriously, someone decided that mustard seed looked too much like a chametz grain?  I get that legumes swell when soaked and therefore could be mistaken for something that rises, but a spice?  There are some rabbis who now have decided that kitnyot are ok for Conservative and Reform movements.  Since I don't change overnight, I'm going to be ok this year if there are trace amounts of extracts such as "soy lecithin" and stuff like that.  If the first ingredient is soybean oil, I'm not eating it.

There is a very easy way around this problem, and it's really cheap.  One egg yolk, a cup of olive oil, and a couple of KLP spices are all it takes.  About $1 per cup of mayo if you're a careful shopper.  The downside is that the shelf life is about five days to a week.  You don't get the long list of stabilizers and ultra-pasteurized ingredients found in commercial mayonnaise.

I don't remember why I got rid of my immersion blender.  Maybe I dropped it too many times and it cracked, or I decided I didn't use it enough.  If you have one, you can make a one-egg mayo in a pint jar or similar sturdy, small container.  Other options are with a whisk by hand, in a food processor, pulsing in a blender, or with a hand-held electric beater.  I did a large batch once in a stand mixer at school, but most households don't go through a quart of mayo in a week.  This time, I opted for the hand mixer.  I just didn't have the time for the whisk or the inclination to clean any more parts than I had to.

For taste, well, I'm not a mayo person.  They all taste like seasoned oil to me.  This batch came out kind of 1000 Island-pink because I used paprika.  Different spices and oils will create different colors.

As usual, when preparing a classic recipe from scratch, I'm basing this on Alton Brown's.  Yes, you're using a raw egg yolk.  There's a disclaimer on AB's version.  There are recipes out there for cooked mayonnaise if you're too squeamish.

1 egg yolk
1 C olive oil (not extra-virgin)
1/8 tsp salt
pinch of sugar
1/4 tsp paprika (or another spice)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tb white wine vinegar

1.  In a small container, combine lemon juice and vinegar.

2.  In a small bowl, whisk (or beat) together yolk, salt, sugar, and spice.  Add half of acid and beat to combine.

3.  Add oil slowly, drops at a time at first.  It's going to take at least five minutes to incorporate the first 1/4 cup, even with the beater on medium.  Once there's substantial volume to the mayo, you can pick up the pace a little.  At the halfway mark, add the rest of the acid.  It's going to make the mix lighten up immediately.  Continue to beat in a thin stream until all of the oil is incorporated.
4.  If the mayo "breaks", meaning it separates into oil and liquid, reduce speed on beater and add half a teaspoon of water at a time until the emulsification stabilizes.  You probably had a small yolk or didn't put in quite enough liquid, or maybe had an unsteady hand and poured too much oil.  It's fixable, but this sauce requires a lot of patience.  It's going to take 15-20 minutes, even if you're a pro.

Makes about 1 cup

Difficulty rating  :)

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