Mayonnaise is a cold sauce made from egg yolk and oil emulsified.
The origin of the word mayonnaise is controversial, the first meaning of the word appearing in 1806. It could come from Mahon (Mao), the capital of Minorca in the Balearic Islands, Spain, occupied by the British and conquered by the Marechal de Richelieu in 1756. the later had presented to his cook this sauce called “the mahonnaise” made with only two ingredients at his disposal: egg and oil. Nevertheless, the sauce began to be described shortly before this event.
Another hypothesis is based, after Careme, a derivative of magnonaise (verb magner or handling) or, according to Prosper Montagne, of moyennaise (or moyeunaise), moyeu which means egg yolk in old French. It has also been proposed to relate to the word to the old verb mailler meaning ” to beat”.
Joseph Fabre says, for its part, that mayonnaise is an alteration of the word magnonnaise derived from Magnon (Lot-et-Garonne), one cook Magnon was first popularized in the South, he notes that the sauce was named either mahonnaise, Bayonnaise and mayonnaise.
The French city of Bayonne (sauce “in Bayonne”) could also give its name to this type of sauce by orthographic transformation.This explanation would seem to be confirmed by the fact that there is no written record of the sauce to “mayonnaise” before the beginning of the nineteenth century, so long after the capture of the city of Mahón.
A final hypothesis, more controversial, and issued by the linguist and historian Nicolas Lepreux suggests that mayonnaise come from the Mayenne region, and the “e” will be changed into “o” over time: the apocryphal story said that the Duke of Mayenne would have eaten, at the eve of the battle of Arques, too much chicken seasoned with a sauce, remarkable, so the next day he fell from his horse and lost the battle.
The original recipe of mayonnaise is made of egg yolk, oil, salt and pepper. You can add different ingredients to enhance the taste like lemon, mustard, the latter improving the firmness of the emulsion. It can be slightly sweet, like in Germany and the Netherlands.
Favre, who uses olive oil, gave three different recipes cold (mayonnaise with egg whites, whole egg, egg yolks) and hot (egg yolks) .
The sauce can “turn” (deteriorate), various tricks have been proposed for cooks, for example, you can add a bit of flour to raw eggs.
It supports preferentially cold preparations and is an essential element in certain foods such as tomato with shrimps, Russian salad or egg mimosa. It is also strongly associated with chips but also serves as an instrument for other sauces, such as Cocktail sauce, Gribiche sauce, Ravigote sauce, Remoulade sauce, Pink sauce, Tartar sauce.
Mayonnaise must rise, that is to say, emulsify, and the whole mass is transformed into a smooth and homogeneous mix. The principle is as follows: egg yolk is a surfactant that allows an emulsion of oil in water. Water can be replaced by any element that contains it, for example mustard, vinegar or lemon, which also alter the taste. Adding oil to mayonnaise thickens it while the addition of water causes the opposite effect.
Temperature is an important criterion when making mayonnaise. In fact, high temperatures reduces the apparent viscosity of the oil, creating the risk of inversion of the emulsion. In the opposite, if the temperature is too low, the energy of the colloid mill will not be transferred efficiently to the droplets and not get a sufficient viscosification.
The recipe, basic, can’t fail, for a nice bowl of mayonnaise:
– 1 egg yolk
– 25 cl of oil (sunflower, rapeseed or corn)
– 1 teaspoon of mustard
– 1 dash of vinegar or lemon juice
– Salt and pepper
Mix the egg yolk and mustard, salt and pepper. Add oil gradually in a thin stream, whisking (with a whisk or hand mixer onmedium speed) to start the emulsion. Add the remaining oil gradually, always beating. Finally stir the vinegar or lemon andadjust the seasoning.
To preserve: cover with clingfilm without air, it must touch the surface of the mayonnaise. Homemade mayonnaise will keep for 1-2 days, often more.
A few tips:
– It should not be too hot in the kitchen, otherwise the mayonnaise hardly rises and falls very easily!
– Egg yolk should preferably be at room temperature;
– Must whisk constantly for the emulsion not to fall;
– Finally the “flavourings” are always added at the end.