Maria Von Trapp was really onto something when she sang, “…when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.”
It was a particularly dreary, rainy, cold day here in the Northeast. To top it off, my husband had just left for an out-of-state, five-week schooling program as part of his job. To say the least, I was feeling a little sad. And so, taking a cue from Maria, I brewed myself a cup of tea and sat down with a pile of some of my favorite things: my cookbooks. If I would be cooking for one (well, one and a half, counting my 17 month old) for over a month, I was going to cook well. I started with my copy of “Olive Oil: From Tree to Table,” a beautiful cookbook I had purchased during my first year working at Ponte. Of all the scrumptious-sounding recipes I was glancing through, like Oil-Cured Fish and Provencal Garlic Soup, I found myself intrigued with a recipe for Mayonnaise. Thinking back, I can recall why: I’d already decided to use up the last of my bacon by making BLT’s for lunch. Also, the day before, I noticed my jar of mayonnaise eerily separating. There were pools of something – egg? oil? –floating on top. Eww. Basically, I was out of mayo and what is a BLT without lots of it? A homemade recipe would be perfect, and also new. This is something I’d never attempted before. I also loved the fact that all of the ingredients are staples in most modern kitchens, eliminating a trip to the market. In addition, if you have a blender or food processor, this recipe is ready in mere minutes. If all you have is a bowl and a whisk, it will take a little bit longer, but it can be done…and will probably taste even better knowing that you’ve hand-whisked a homemade mayonnaise!
In my food processor, I blended some Dijon mustard, an egg, a bit of salt and pepper, Ponte Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil (another one of my favorite things) and some vinegar. What resulted was a thick, creamy, pale yellow concoction of deliciousness. Truly, it was scrumptious and tasted nothing like store-bought mayonnaise, although I have never tried the newer olive oil versions from the store. I was very generous with it on my BLT. I couldn’t help myself. To drink, I had a glass of 2009 Barbera which was fruit-forward and wonderful with the smoky bacon.
Dare I say that I’ll never buy mayonnaise again? Who knows? But I will definitely be trying this recipe with lots of variations like using canola oil for a milder mayo, and toying around with different flavored vinegars. This version made with olive oil would be a delicious dip for crudités or a dip for steamed artichokes. The “Olive Oil: From Tree to Table” cookbook also has recipe variations for garlic aioli, remoulade, green herb mayo and spiced orange mayonnaise. I highly recommend it, especially to anyone who is an olive oil-junkie, like me.
Adapted from Olive Oil: From Tree to Table by Peggy Knickerbocker
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 egg
- Pinch of salt
- Dash of pepper
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, such as Ponte Arbequina
- 2 Tbsp white vinegar
In a food processor or blender combine the mustard, egg, salt and pepper and pulse until blended and smooth. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Process until the mixture starts to thicken. Stop when all of the oil has been added and scrape down the sides. Add the vinegar a bit at a time and combine. Refrigerate and use within 5 days.
Alternately, make the mayonnaise by hand. In a bowl, whisk the mustard, egg, salt and pepper until smooth. Add the olive oil, a drop at a time at first until it starts to emulsify, then in a very slow, steady stream. Whisk until thick. Then, add the vinegar a little at a time, whisking until combined.
–What are some of your favorite things?