So you would like to know how to make mayonnaise in ten seconds? Following the ‘What was he tasty’ column from two weeks ago, in which a reader wrote about a mayonnaise that you make with a single movement of the hand blender, my mailbox overflowed with requests for the recipe of this wonderful mayo.
Well, with pleasure of course. It is a recipe that I published in 2007 in NRC. It wasn’t my own recipe, but more on that later. First I would like to point out that the online version of ‘What was he tasty’, on nrc.nl, always contains a link to the original recipe. In addition, it might be useful to know that all my recipes, even those from fourteen years ago, can still be found in the online archive of this newspaper. All you have to do is type my name into Google plus the dish you’re looking for, et voilà.
But now that ten second mayonnaise. I wrote at the time that I had seen countless times on television how Joop Braakhekke made mayonnaise with one simple, smooth movement of a stick blender: pour an egg yolk into a measuring cup, a lick of mustard, a spoonful of vinegar, salt and a few deciliters of sunflower oil, stick blender in, switch on and pull up.
As many times as I’d seen this trick, I’d tried to imitate it. But invariably those attempts ended with a pathetic, greasy puddle not worthy of the name mayonnaise. Until one day I saw a cook and a chemist on a popular science television show doing the same thing, but with a whole egg instead of just an egg yolk. That cook and chemist were Eke Mariën and Jan Groenewold, a duo that would later write several books about the chemistry behind daily cooking processes. And their mayo method really works, as in: always.
If asked, Mariën is willing to explain once more why that is. Mayonnaise, he tells on the phone, is in fact a network of tiny oil droplets, each encased in a thin layer of water. One of the reasons why the sauce sometimes doesn’t want to thicken, or why it can curdle while beating, is that there isn’t enough water.
Now the water in mayonnaise comes from the egg yolk, it is also a little bit in mustard and of course in vinegar. But chicken protein also consists of 95 percent water. So the difference between Joop Braakhekke’s ten-second mayo and Mariën and Groenewold’s recipe is simply: more water. In addition, chicken egg whites also contain ovalbumin, a substance that (like mustard and like the lecithin in egg yolk) can act as an emulsifier. So using a whole egg in mayonnaise is actually a kind of double guarantee of success.
Try it for fun with an egg yolk and two tablespoons of water, Mariën advises me. (I did it right away, of course, and yes, fantastic mayo!) Just before we hang up, he once again reminds me that the credits for the hand blender mayo trick really should go to Joop Braakhekke. Good old Joop, who would have turned 80 two weeks ago had he not died in December 2016. Hereby. Thank you, Joop!
Asparagus with tartar sauce and bresaola
The asparagus season has started again and since asparagus and mayonnaise are great friends, today a recipe for asparagus with tartar sauce. I like to serve this combination with cold meats, as a starter. In the photo above you can see bresaola: salted and seasoned and then dried beef. I actually wanted to serve it with nail wood, a specialty from the east of the Netherlands that is very similar to that, but less readily available in the rest of the country. So now yes, anyone who can get nail wood knows what to do. If not, bresaola is also very tasty. If that doesn’t work either, you can opt for lamb or gammon, for example. And vegetarians can eat a soft-boiled egg with it. By the way, I think it’s best to eat the asparagus warm, even if the cold meats and tartar sauce are cold. But of course you can also serve the asparagus cold.
For 4 people, as a starter:
1 kg white asparagus, peeled (keep peels and ends);
1.5 tbsp finely chopped shallot;
1 tbsp finely chopped sour pickles;
1 tbsp finely chopped capers;
3 salted anchovy fillets, finely chopped;
1 hard-boiled egg, finely chopped;
2 tbsp chopped parsley;
1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon;
1 tbsp finely chopped chervil (+ extra chervil to garnish);
150 ml mayonaise;
about 1 tsp smooth sharp mustard;
150 g bresaola (or nail wood, or ham), in slices.
Doe the asparagus peels and ends in the bottom of a large (asparagus) pan. Stand the asparagus upright in the asparagus pan insert or, if using a regular pan, simply place them on top of the peels. Cover the asparagus with water and add a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and let the asparagus cook under a lid for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
NS for the tartar sauce, the shallot, gherkins, capers, anchovies, the egg and the herbs through the mayonnaise. Taste and season with mustard, salt and pepper.
Leave Drain the asparagus on a clean cloth and place on a plate. (Save the cooking liquid to make soup or risotto.) Drape the meats next to it and serve the tartar sauce separately. Garnish with a few sprigs of chervil if desired.
This is the 2.0 version of the 2007 ten second mayonnaise, which I have named only six second mayonnaise for distinction. Because really, it won’t last longer.
For 300 ml mayonnaise:
1 egg yolk;
2 el water;
1.5 tl dijonmosterd;
1.5 el wittewijnazijn;
½ tsp salt;
300 ml sunflower oil
narrow, tall mixing bowl
Doe the egg yolk, water, mustard, vinegar and salt in the cup. Pour the oil on it. Place the base of the immersion blender on the bottom of the beaker and switch on the blender. Slowly move it up. This is often enough to create a thick mayonnaise. If not, gently move the mixer down and up again. Taste and season with salt, pepper, extra vinegar or mustard if necessary.