The origins of mayonnaise have always been in dispute as has its name and spelling. The French say that they created it and the Spanish say it’s their recipe, so today we have mayonnaise, mayonhesa or mahonesa.
Its origins as Salsa de Mahonesa, Mahon sauce from Mahon city in Menorca doesn't seem to be in question, it seems that according to the French, it's not where that is in dispute, but by who?
You’ve guessed it, they say it was created by a Frenchman but in Spain. Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands, which belong to Spain. The Balearic Islands sit in the Mediterranean Sea, 132 miles from Barcelona on the Spanish coast and 287 miles from Marseille on the French coast. The islands have evolved with a wonderful mixture of both cultures from traditions to cuisine.
Back in the early 18th century, Louis XIV sent General Duc de Richelieu, to Menorca to sort out some trouble with the English who had taken possession of the harbour in Mahon. The siege was long and the Duke's cook found it difficult to please the General who was missing his fine dining in the Courts of Versailles.
Setting out to make a new and interesting sauce with what he had on hand was a challenge. Eggs and olive oil were abundant, but not much else. So that’s what he used, with a touch of vinegar and hey presto Mahonnaise, Mayonnaise or Mahonesa sauce was created.
A collaborative French – Spanish effort? I’ll call it a Mediterranean Recipe. It’s a great and versatile sauce, with a range of exciting possibilities to give it some uumph.
Mayonnaise or Mayonesa or Mahonesa
1 egg, room temperature
1 cup virgin olive oil
Good squirt vinegar, or lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar
big pinch curry powder
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
Put raw egg into a blender, the egg must be at room temperature or the oil won't emulsify. Add half a cup of olive oil and the vinegar or lemon juice.
Add salt, pepper, and any of your chosen options. Turn on the machine, as soon as the sauce begins to thicken, add another half cup or so of oil until it gets so thick that the mixer seems to be struggling.
Taste and add salt, sugar, mustard or vinegar until you get your preferred taste.
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