07 February 2012

Mayo Clinic

Let's face it: no matter how much we love our favorite ones, sometimes we feel the need to spice things up. I get bored with the same old thing. Come on, admit it—you do too. I mean, we've all tried to make it more exciting, haven't we? A little spice helps a lot, I think. I've been playing around lately, going farther than ever before, and I think I've found some tricks. So if you're tired of plain old mayonnaise, why not send your mayonnaise to the Mayo Clinic for a little lift?

You're probably already halfway there: who hasn't mixed some pesto into mayo for a tomato sandwich? (you haven't? Why not??) Or put some chopped chives into mayo for devilled eggs. Add a little garlic and call it aioli...

Here are three of my favorite spiced up mayos:

Lime and chili. This is like samurai sauce but rocked with some lime zest and juice. I love it on anything, but it makes a ham sandwich stand up and sing. It's wonderful as a dip for chips or fries or crisps. Also breadsticks and veggies. This one's my star.

Lime and Chili mayonnaise

½ - ¾ cup mayonnaise
zest of ¼ lime
½ teaspoon lime juice
¼ teaspoon hot chili paste

Mix all the ingredients well and taste. Adjust to your liking, keeping in mind that the flavors will be stronger the next day. I personally add more lime and more chili.  

Orange and curry. This one is wonderful on a chicken or turkey sandwich. For fancy pants finger sandwiches, blitz some poached chicken with a little spring onion and some crème fraiche to make a paste and spread that on bread with orange/curry mayo. Oh, yes.

Orange and Curry mayonnaise

½ - ¾ cup mayonnaise
zest of ¼ orange
1 teaspoon curry powder

Mix all the ingredients well and taste. Adjust to your liking keeping in mind that the flavors will be stronger the next day.  

Saffron and chili. This is Dan's favorite. I've found a company that grows saffron in Belgium (I know!) and theirs is the strongest flavored saffron I've found. I use plenty in this recipe, because we love the earthy, clean flavor and the amazing color of it. The chili paste makes it even more vibrant—in both color and flavor. This one is perfect with fish or as a veggie dip or on crackers or as a last minute addition to soup (on pea soup? Gorgeous!) or as a pretty garnish wherever you need a spot of color.

Saffron and Chili mayonnaise

½ - ¾ cup mayonnaise
a big pinch saffron threads
1-2 envelopes powdered saffron
¼ teaspoon harissa

Soak the saffron threads in the tiniest bit of hot water for about 15 minutes. Add them to the mayonnaise along with the powdered saffron and the harissa. Taste and adjust to your liking keeping in mind that the flavors will be stronger the next day. I personally add more harissa.

  • The first thing to know is that you're in charge. You can make these as strong or as subtle as you like. I personally like things spicy hot. If my earlobes aren't sweating then I think it needs a little more zip. However, I've toned that down in these recipes to what I think of as average. You'll adjust the chili for your own taste, of course.
  • The flavors in these develop over a day or so, so it's best to make these the day before you want to use them and leave them covered in the fridge overnight. This is especially true for citrus zest and chili paste.
  • I start with about ½ - ¾ cup good mayo. You can make your own, but I think that the subtly wonderful flavors added by making it by hand are lost with these additions. I use a good bought mayo for these.
  • For the citrus zests, I grate them with a microplane to get fine zest. The point of the zest here is to allow the oils to infuse into the mayo, so you want as much surface area as possible.
  • For the chili paste, I use different kinds of chilis: fresh ones chopped and mashed in a mortar and pestle, asian hot chili sauce (ear-sweating hot), harissa (a moroccan chili paste mixture). I don't recommend Tabasco alone, as it has too much vinegar for my taste. However, as a punch-up it's great.
  • Saffron is the most expensive spice there is, so you don't want to waste it. But there's no point in being afraid of it either. If you put too little in the mayo, you won't taste it. You almost can't put too much, in my opinion. I use a combination of saffron threads and powdered saffron that I find in Italy. The threads I soak in a little hot water for a while before adding them to the mayo, but the powdered stuff I dump right in. You need to be careful of powdered saffron, because it's so easy to cut with other stuff. It's worth it to find a brand that you can know and trust.
  • All of these recipes can be made with butter as well.   


Milin kuvar said...

Nice post, I love it!
Combinations are stunning!

Junglefrog said...

I love mayonaise and yes you can do so many good thing to it, to make it even better. love the ideas!
O and I used the first half of the matcha with some interesting results! It will be online on the 9th... :) Loved the flavor! (and the color!)

Susan Lindquist said...

Oh! I love the idea of these! So packed with flavour that a little goes a long way! Perfect for my more austere diet these days ...

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I'm always messing with flavors in mayonnaise and it's so much fun.

I frequently put a little curry in mayo for a turkey sandwich, but it never occurred to me to add a little orange zest. Thanks for the great idea Kate. I use lime and lemon zest in lots of things.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I forgot to add that you really had me going there with the Mayo Clinic. My heart skipped a beat and I went into "worry" mode for you and Dan. The Mayo Clinic is a long way for your to travel, but they're the best.

We have enjoyed every morsel of the dark chocolate that I won. Meakin and I both send our thanks again. What a treat to win something that delicious.

Linda said...

So funny... I saw you on my sidebar and thought oh no...someone is ill!
I love the look of all of these! Mike loves the Samurai sauce! Yummy!
L xo

Lynn said...

When I first saw Mayo Clinic, I thought something was wrong. Glad to hear it's just mayo, and nice variations too!

The Gypsy Chef said...

Beautiful photos! I know where you shot them.;-) Love the Samarai Sauce versionSo glad you weren't visiting the real mayo clinic.

Anonymous said...

I just thought of you when I ate the best mac and cheese (four kinds of cheese) at an upscale cheese store in Shirlington. I know! Shirlington has a gourmet cheese store. It has changed so much-it's very trendy these days and so gourmet. Love you lots, Kate

Kate said...

What a cool post! It was fun to see the different variations and think of what I might create.
Glad it was only the mayo at the Mayo Clinic!

Robin E. H. Ove said...

Wonderful spicy combos Kate! What a nice change up to plain ole' mayo.

Barbara said...

Orange and curry? That's a must try for me. Great post, Kate.

Jeanne said...

Oh I love these inspirations! I am in inveterate lover of mayo and love the idea of spicing it up - particularly the orange and curry idea! Love the way the light is catching that orange wedge too :)