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Oct 12, 2012 05:58 PM

EVOO v.s. Regular Olive Oil- for Making Mayo?

Over on the Boston board there is a discussion about this. Some insist that EVOO can make mayo emulsifying much trickier; others disagree. I found this web mention but it doesn't say EVOO affects the emulsifying of the mayo, only how it acts after it is chilled. Chemists and other knowledgeable CHs out there?

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  1. From Serious Eats Food Lab:

    It's possible to make a truly tasty mayonnaise by using high quality extra-virgin olive oil, but there's a problem: Blenders, food processors, and hand blenders are too powerful.

    You see, extra-virgin olive oil droplets are composed of many tiny fragments, many of which are bound tightly together, preventing our taste buds from picking them up. Whip the olive oil with enough vigor, by say, using a food processor or blender, and you end up shearing those bitter-tasting fragments apart from each other. The result is a mayonnaise with a markedly bitter taste. Not only that, but these tiny fragments actually decrease the efficacy of emulsifiers like mustard or lecithin, making your sauce more likely to break.

    So what if you want to have an ultra-stable mayonnaise that's still strongly flavored with extra-virgin olive oil but has no bitterness? The key is to use a neutral-flavored oil like canola or vegetable to start your mayonnaise. Once it's stable, transfer it to a bowl and whisk in some extra-virgin olive oil by hand. You'll still get plenty of flavor, but none of the bitterness.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Infomaniac

      boy,this topic is getting more complex all the time. Now bitterness enters the discussion!

    2. I can attest to the bitterness. I found it inedible and down the sink it went.

      I have used a blend of neutral oil regular olive oil successfully.

      1. I have worked in many professional kitchens but only one restaurant used extra virgin olive oil exclusively for making mayonnaise. Everywhere else I worked cut it with some canola/vegetable oil because of the potential overwhelming taste of olive oil. While I enjoy an olive oil mayonnaise, it can be quite strong and detract from other flavours, so only the one restaurant which was Italian and really didn't use much mayo anyways except for a pork tonnato special used only olive oil.

        I don't know the reason why, but it was common knowledge in every restaurant as well as through culinary school that mayonnaise with extra virgin olive oil was more finicky then with other oils. It certainly was possible, but just not as easy. I have made a lot of mayonnaise, including mayonnaise with olive oil and even without mustard as an aide, and I have also had more mayonnaise split with just olive oil then I have with a combination of oils or just canola/vegetable alone.

        1. I make EVOO aioli occasionally and largely agree with Terret and Infomaniac. 100% EVOO mayonnaise can be overpowering.

          My mayonnaise journey started with Deborah Madison's blender mayonnaise, which is a whole egg and part of the oil. Turn the blender and stream more oil until done. This was foolproof. It never broke.

          The next phase began from reading the section on aioli in James Peterson's 'Sauces.' He strongly advises not overworking good olive oil. Even whisking. Seriously. So I started to experiment, initially doing Madison's blender version, starting the emulsion with peanut oil and stopping midway and hand incorporating the olive oil. This is probably the sweet spot in terms of ease, and in terms of value.

          Nonetheless I generally prefer the 100% EVOO aioli. I make it in a mortar and pestle. I don't consider it a very difficult skill to master. It's nothing at all compared to being able to prepare fish correctly or bake bread. The key is have everything at room temp, and add oil slowly in the beginning. I use a chinese soup spoon in the beginning, doling the oil slowly from it. The egg yolk can't take much oil at first, but as the emulsion forms, it can accept oil at an increasing rate.

          It is true that it can be overpowering. So what? Balsamic vinegar is overpowering. Hot sauce is overpowering. Miso is overpowering. Salt, sugar, black pepper, fish sauce, all of these are overpowering. I've found uses for it, when it is sitting in the refrigerator. I made rice pilaf, and stirred a small amount in at the end, and you couldn't tell what was in there, except it made it a little bolder, richer, more pungent. Of course there's the obvious things like cutting it with lemon and putting some on a plate with some fish or grilled vegetables.

          You could just try it and see what you think, it's not rocket science. You should get very good olive oil, though, as you are basically putting the olive oil on center stage. But I would save your money until you have figured out how to get the mayonnaise to come together reliably.

          1. I make it with EVOO once in awhile in a food processor. I have never had a problem getting it to emulsify. I do know that it can become bitter (though didn't know why) so I only make it with an oil with a "buttery" and not grassy/peppery flavor profile.

            I've not tried the jar and stick blender method but maybe I will just to compare.