It's a condiment controversy: the French claim to have invented mayonnaise, but the Spanish make the same claim. Who is right, exactly? According to Spaniards, their version of the story goes like this: Mayonnaise, or in Spanish mayonesa, was supposedly invented in Mahon, a city on the island of Menorca, during the French occupation of Mahon in the 1750’s. A French chef made an elaborate victory feast that included an egg and cream sauce that would become known as mayonnaise. Ultimately, it was a French chef on Spanish soil -- you could say it was a joint effort!
Nowadays, homemade mayonnaise is widely unheard of in most modern kitchens. Who has the time? And what about food poisoning from raw eggs? These hesitations don't seem to exist in Spain. When making ensaladilla rusa (Spanish potato salad), huevos rellenos (deviled eggs) and various other Spanish tapas that call for mayonnaise, Spanish cooks will quickly whip up their own mayonnaise at home. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes and lends an authentic taste to any dish that store-bought mayonnaise simply can’t compete with.
Note: The use of pasteurized eggs is strongly recommended. The pasteurization process destroys bacteria that may be present (like salmonella) by heating the eggs for a period of time to destroy the bacteria without cooking them. You must still refrigerate the mayonnaise and any dish you make with it to prevent contamination.
- Crack the eggs into a 2-cup measuring cup or a small mixing bowl.
- Using a small stick blender or immersion blender, start the beating the eggs with your mixer. If using a stick blender, keep the beater down on the bottom of the cup or bowl.
- Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the eggs and watch as the mixture magically turns into mayonnaise. Don’t lift the beaters or blenders -- keep them immersed in the concoction until the bottom of the mixture starts to really thicken and turn to mayonnaise.
- Once the bottom half of the mixture has turned to mayonnaise, you may lift up the mixer to finish mixing in the oil at the top.
- Add salt and a bit of lemon juice to taste while continuing to blend.