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Reviewing the classics and starting traditions

It was illuminating and enjoyable to watch an episode of Martha Stewart Living last week in which Stewart made four foundational sauces: beurre blanc, Mornay, Bechamel or white sauce and Marinara. By the way, I follow the basic Bechamel model to make curry, adding the curry powder or paste to the flour and butter. But the curry is even better if you use coconut oil instead of butter for the flavor. Then, instead of milk or cream, use light coconut milk to complete the sauce.

But while I have been in Costa Rica, I have noticed the popularity of mayonnaise here as a condiment. I mentioned in a previous article that I am not used to putting mayonnaise on french fries, but it turns out to be quite tasty. And on the table you will often see a sauce that seems to be half catsup and half mayonnaise. Thinking about that, I decided to do my own sauce segment using mayonnaise as a base.

Thousand Island Dressing comes to mind immediately, especially since it is important to keep dishes that contain mayo cold. I have made it two ways: one by mixing mayo and mild salsa to taste, and more often by starting with one cup of mayo and adding catsup until it is the "right" color (to taste, that is). Then I add a quarter-cup of sweet pickle relish and one teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. The Worcestershire kicks it up a notch and imparts some sophistication to the mix of ingredients.

Another thing I used to do often with mayo was start with one cup, and then add yellow curry powder to taste. I followed that with about a quarter-cup of Major Grey chutney, but nowadays I would use the apple-rhubarb chutney that I pioneered some time ago.

I encountered a recipe for Rhubarb Chutney online, and while it is good, I found that the sour taste of rhubarb tended to dominate it. When I saw another recipe for Apple Chutney online, I went to half apples and half rhubarb, chopped to the same size, and I arrived at chutney heaven as far as I am concerned.

My mother also used to make a sauce with mayonnaise and Cocktail Sauce, which is sold in bottles and seems to be made mostly of pimientos and/or red bell peppers. You remember it from seeing it served as the relish for a Shrimp Cocktail. Bernice used to mix it with mayo for her version of Thousand-Island Dressing, along with the sweet pickle relish. There are other types of sweet relish, though, which you can see in Tucson's stores right now as the barbecue and grilling season is in full swing. Nothing is stopping you from introducing them to mayonnaise and catsup and seeing what you can come up with.

Meanwhile, get out your favorite mixing tool and whip up some mayonnaise:

BIG SIX MAYONNAISE

From Cafe Margot

Ingredients:

1 large organic egg at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon organic dry ground mustard
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon organic granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon organic cider vinegar
1 cup of organic safflower, canola or olive oil

In a mixing bowl or food processor, place the egg, salt, mustard, sugar and vinegar. Beat them together or process them briefly to combine.

With the mixer or processor still running, begin to add the oil in a thin stream. Watch to see that it is beginning to emulsify with the egg. Continue to add the oil gradually until it has all been added, then stop mixing.

Test the consistency and flavor of the mayonnaise and adjust the vinegar, seasonings or oil until you have the mixture that you like. Do not add too much oil or the mayonnaise will "break" into fragments.

I do not use grapeseed oil to make mayonnaise because of its greenish color. I also advise against using all olive oil, although many people do. Half olive oil and half safflower is ideal in my opinion.

Make sure all the ingredients including the oil are at room temperature before you start making the mayonnaise.

Herbal flavors can be added while you mix the mayo, such as garlic powder or fresh garlic, minced.