Nigella Eats Everything

Writing on food and France

Miso and lime mayonnaise

The first dish we learnt to make at cookery school was mayonnaise. We all stood at our work benches, buttoned up securely in our fresh, spotless whites, hair snugly packed into caps, clattering a whisk around a metal bowl of egg yolk, slowly dripping the oil in off the prongs of a fork. Dip the fork in the oil, drip it in the egg. Repeat. Drip by drip by drip…

Never again have I made mayonnaise in this slow, laborious manner, and never again have I seen chefs dressed so splendidly. I probably looked like a new sheepskin rug which you’re not allowed to go near with the red wine.

miso and lime mayonnaise

Leiths taught me to worship the egg. I still remember the first lecture when our teacher held up a raw fragile egg (ready to lob it into the crowd, shouting, ‘Welcome to school, kids!’) and described it as a ‘natural pre-packed fast food’. Respect, control and patience is the key to cooking with eggs, (as I devoutly describe here when I whipped up some silky scrambled eggs), and nothing could be more accurate when making a good mayonnaise.

Since then, I’ve found making mayonnaise to be a basic requirement in cookery. In various jobs, I’ve needed to whip up a quick aioli with squidgy roasted garlic and mustard for dunking chips, or with fronds of wild garlic to create a vivid green mayonnaise, a grassy bed for a pile of smokey potatoes.

Even now, living with a Frenchman making a mayonnaise is a pre-requisite. Homemade mayonnaise, made with tablespoons of spicy Dijon, is essential for burgers, then for dipping our chips, then for ripping off chunks of baguette and wiping them around the bowl.

In an East meets West combination, I tried miso and lime mayonnaise and then, in a fit of ‘oh, let’s just see’ added a centimetre of finely grated ginger. So fine, it’s basically pulp. What emerged was a silky, salty-sweet spread, the colour of a creamy beige swatch you’d probably find at Farrow and Bull; a hit of umami miso to start, then the ginger and floral lime zest refreshing the palate with an edge of sweetness. Each dip of a chip was more intriguing as the flavours layered and twirled on my tongue.

Admittedly, it’s not the most exciting to photograph so forgiveness please. I paired it in a sandwich with some leftover cooked salmon, cucumber and spinach, and couldn’t believe how the sweet lime shone through, complementing the salmon and enhancing the cucumber freshness. I ate it, then remembered to take a picture.

miso and lime mayonnaise

Cookery school taught us to be cautious as we made mayonnaise and, to a degree, they were right. Over-confidently adding oil is a mistake we’ve all made. But don’t be daunted, dear reader. If there’s something we can achieve this lockdown, it’s adding mayonnaise to our repertoires. Maybe even miso and lime mayonnaise.

Miso and lime mayonnaise

For the best mayonnaise which doesn’t split, keep your eggs at room temperature. If it does happen to split and curdle, simply add a new egg yolk to a clean bowl and slowly add the split mixture like you would the oil, then continue with the recipe.
Add the oil so slowly it's painful to watch. As you won't have a spare hand to hold the bowl steady, rest it on a damp piece of kitchen paper as you whisk and pour – or just ask a nice person to hold the bowl for you.
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: French, Japanese
Keyword: ginger, lime, mayonnaise, Miso
Servings: 4
Author: Adapted from the recipe by Leiths How to Cook

Ingredients

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 150 ml flavourless oil
  • ½ tsp English mustard powder or 1 tsp of Dijon mustard or similar
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp brown miso loosened with a splash of water double check your miso if you’re gluten intolerant
  • 1 cm fresh ginger
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  • In a clean bowl, add the yolk, mustard powder and a grinding of salt. Mix them to combine, then slowly, carefully pour in a thin stream of oil and whisk with a fork continuously. You want to be combining that oil into the egg as it pours. If there is too much oil it could easily split.
  • The egg mixture will start thickening. If it looks greasy add a teaspoon of warm water.
  • Adding the oil will take a while so be patient! When it is finally all incorporated, add the loosened miso, the finely grated ginger and the zest of half the lime. Cut the lime into quarters and add one quarter of juice. Taste and add a little more lime juice if necessary.
  • Leave the mayonnaise at room temperature for the flavours to amalgamate then serve with chips, baguette, in a sandwich, however you like!

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3 responses to “Miso and lime mayonnaise”

  1. Thistles and Kiwis Avatar

    I have never had the courage to make my own mayo…but now thing I really have to have a go.

    1. Nigella Eats Everything Avatar

      I know exactly what you mean, but every time I make it, and automatically compare it to what I get in the supermarket, I can’t believe how worthwhile it is! Plus there is something so satisfying about making it!

  2. […] pastry and brioche, providing moisture, tender crumb and colour. It sets quiches, thickens mayonnaise, as a meringue it bakes into a crisp shell with a mallowy centre, and is essential for the soft […]

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