Friday, April 5, 2013

How to make a Mayonnaise (Emulsion)

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 The Gourmandise School  
 Sweets and Savories

Like oil and water. 
There are a few terms we come across in cookbooks that we tend to a) pretend to know what they mean, b) acknowledge that we don't know, shrug and move on, or c) turn the page and ignore the recipe for fear of not knowing what it might mean.  Today's Word of the Day: Emulsion.  Before you get your knives all tied up, relax.  Emulsions happen when two or more ingredients who don't ordinarily blend come together in an even mixture- with some help.

If you've ever made mayonnaise (see below), you've created a permanent emulsion.  These emulsions typically require an emulsifier, generally in the form of an egg yolk.  For those scared of commitment, temporary emulsions include my favorite- vinaigrette (hence the need to shake a bottle before pouring)- need no yolk and only a fork or whisk to get things going.  Let me break it down:  Oil and vinegar in a bowl will steer clear of each other, but once you introduce motion and an emulsifier, they'll start to warm up, get chummy, and, finally, come together.  The best tip I can give you is to add your oil slowly and be patient- the emulsions happen rather quickly and ceremoniously, so whisk away and get out your homemade fries.

In a medium bowl, whisk together:
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp mustard

Set aside:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
pinch of salt
2 tsps lemon juice (or white vinegar)

1. Whisk your yolks and mustard for at least one minute.
2. Add lemon juice and salt and whisk until smooth.
3. Slowly whisk in the oil until the emulsion takes place (you will see the mixture pulling away from the sides of your bowl and collecting towards the center) and a thick, rich mixture has been reached.
4. Season to taste.  I love tarragon.  To make aioli, add fresh or roasted garlic, pulsed in a food processor, to the mixture.

Wishing you a delicious day,
Clémence and Hadley 

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