Mayonnaise Bases and Flavored Yogurts
Here is a great excerpt from the book "A year in my kitchen" by Skye Gyngell, discussing how to create excellent mayonnaise bases and the similar family of flavored yogurts (with recipes). This book has a ton of recipes that focus on taking advantage of seasonal ingredients, but also several gems like this that focus on a particular class of ingredient:
l use flavored yogurts mostly in conjunction with dishes that have the toolbox spice mix as their foundation. Very often, these dishes are North African or Middle Eastern in feel and their earthy, pungent flavors are well softened by a top hat of yogurt. It rounds off the flavors, leaving them more palatable and gentle in the mouth. Thick, strained plain yogurt is the best kind to use for flavored yogurts. It has an unctuous quality and holds additional flavoring much more effectively than thin, light yogurt.
In the recipes where I have used specific flavored yogurts, I have listed all their ingredients. The following toolbox recipe is a basic flavor mix that works extremely well with many roasted
meats, pickled vegetables, and slow-roasted tomatoes. You could replace the mint with cilantro,use a little chopped fresh red chile instead of Tabasco, or add some crushed garlic and/or grated
fresh gingerroot if you like.
for the flavored yogurt
2 cups thick, strained plain yogurt
2 tsp Tabasco
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
20 mint leaves, minced
good pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the Tabasco, lime zest and juice, mint, and salt, then incorporate the olive oil, beating well. Cover and refrigerate the yogurt until ready to use. It will taste pure only for a couple of days.
Mayonnaise bases work in a similar way to flavored yogurts. They round out and complete dishes, adding a complexity to the final flavor. A variety of ingredients can be added to a mayonnaise to make it compatible to what you are cooking, including roasted ground almonds and other nuts, saffron, rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, anchovy, basil oil, even puréed roasted tomatoes. These mayonnaise bases work particularly well with the more Mediterranean flavors of tomato-based dishes. The purest mayonnaise base of all is simply enhanced with lemon and zest. This works beautifully with crab, white fish, shellfish, and any of the really glorious summer vegetables such as asparagus, fava beans, and peas. juice
I use only extra virgin olive oil when making mayonnaise, but if you find the flavor too intense, substitute half the quantity with sunflower-seed oil. Using a food processor is an easy method. The only trick is to pour the oil very slowly—too quickly and the mayonnaise may split.
This is the basic recipe. Of course, you can create many different flavored mayonnaises. Just remember to add the extra ingredients at the beginning with your egg yolks
for the mayonnaise
3 organic egg yolks
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp Dijon mustard
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
generous 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place the egg yolks in a food processor and add the lemon juice, mustard, and a good pinch each of salt and pepper. Whiz briefly to combine. Pour the olive oil into a pitcher and then, with the motor running, pour it slowly through the feed tube in a fine stream until it is all incorporated and the mayonnaise is emulsified.