Friday, March 9, 2012

Homemade Mayonnaise & Chicken Salad

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On occasion I'll make my own mayonnaise. It's not difficult and it's much tastier and a lot cheaper than anything you can pick up in a jar. I think what holds many people back from giving it a try is the concern about raw eggs. It's sad this seems to have become more of an issue in recent years.

My mum told me my grandmother used to leave her eggs out on the counter, unrefrigerated for weeks. My grandmother's eggs were fine and no one ever got sick.

Nowadays, when it comes to perishable foods, I often toss "brand loyalty" out the window and shop by the best expiration date. The eggs I brought home this week happened to be "pasteurized"; perfect for making mayonnaise. If you can't find any pasteurized eggs, then you can do this yourself.

This basic recipe can be doubled or tripled, but I prefer making a smaller amount and using it up within a week.

All ingredients need to be at room temperature.

Basic Mayonnaise
1 large pasteurized egg yolk
1/2-3/4 cup flavourless vegetable oil
a pinch or two of fine sea salt
1-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 

lime juice, vinegar or flavoured vinegar in place of the lemon juice.
1/2-1 tsp plain or hot mustard
1-2 tsp ketchup, (makes a nice pink mayo)
replace part of the oil with sesame or olive oil

I like making my mayonnaise with a hand-held electric beater and a two cup glass measure. You can use a blender, a food processor, an immersion hand blender or even a whisk if you are brave enough, and up to a good workout.

Beat the egg yolk until it lightens in colour. Add one or two drops of oil and continue to beat. Keep beating in one or two drops of oil at a time (very slowly) until you have used up about a tablespoon of oil. The slower you do this, the greater rate of success you will have at creating a smooth emulsion. The yolk mixture will look creamy and *smooth. At this point you can add a small amount of salt and lemon juice or one or two of the options.

Once you have added about a tablespoon or so of the oil successfully, you can add it a bit more quickly; several drops at a time or in a very thin stream until you have used the desired amount of oil. I rarely add more than 1/2 a cup of oil per yolk, but you can add as much as about 3/4 cup of oil, if you prefer. Taste the mayonnaise and beat in more salt and lemon juice as needed.

*If the yolk begins to separate from the oil, then either the oil was added too quickly or the egg and oil were not the same temperature. Put this mixture aside (don't throw it out) and begin again with another yolk. Beat this yolk until it begins to lighten, then beat in a 1/4 tsp of the separated yolk mixture at a time until you have used all of it. At this point, you will need to double the recipe and add twice the amount of the ingredients above to finish your mayonnaise.

This will keep for about 1 week or so, refrigerated. It might keep longer, but I always finish mine before that amount of time passes.

Chicken Salad
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1-2 tsp cider vinegar, to taste
1/2 tsp hot mustard
1/4 tsp honey
1 tsp poppy seeds

2/3 cup leftover cooked chicken, chopped
5-6 grapes, quartered
1 tbsp chopped celery
2 tsp dried cranberries
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, honey and poppy seeds. Mix that in with the chicken, grapes, celery and cranberries.

Check and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.


Jeanette @ This Dusty Kitchen said...

I'll admit it... I didn't realize pasteurized eggs existed until I read this post...

This looks so tasty! I love chicken salad and all your additions look perfect.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I've been planning to make basil mayo for chicken salad for some time now, but was afraid of the salmonella, thanks for the tip on the pasteurized eggs!

Gerlinde in Washington said...

I'm not sure how long pasteurized eggs have been available, I've only noticed them this past year.

Sue said...

Are you using an electric beater with only one beater installed? If so, I don't know why I've never thought of that. You're a genius!

Gerlinde in Washington said...

No Sue, I'm using both beaters. They fit perfectly in my 2-cup measure.

smbp said...

I love the addition of Poppy Seeds! Cranberries in my "chicken salad" is a favorite of mine too :)

Unknown said...

What a gorgeous salad. I'm going to have to try making mayo again. My last attempt failed miserably:(

Gerlinde in Washington said...

I failed at my first attempt as well. I think the key is temperature and pace. If you start off very slowly by just adding one drop of oil (which is at the same temperature as the egg yolk) at a time, chances are your mayo will turn out. It usually takes me about 10 minutes to make the mayonnaise and most of that time is spent adding that first tablespoon of oil.

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