I like the convenience of always having a jar of good quality mayonnaise in my refrigerator. Unfortunately, even the best organic mayonnaise I can buy has corn syrup, corn starch and agave syrup in its line-up of ingredients. So, as far as eating a Primal diet is concerned, it doesn’t cut the mustard.
However, if you commit to making your own mayo, there’s still the problem of deciding what is the healthiest and the best-tasting oil to use. The choice is bewildering!
For health reasons I’d choose an organic, unrefined, cold-pressed oil such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil or macadamia oil. Unrefined oil, which usually means the oil is cold-pressed (mechanically extracted by pressure rather than heat) is much better for you because it retains all its nutrients and flavour.
On the other hand, for the non-overpowering taste and pale look of shop-bought mayonnaise, a refined oil would produce something that’s much more like Hellman’s, which is what most people think is the ‘real deal’ of mayonnaise.
The issue is, I do not want to use refined oils in my cooking because the likes of rapeseed oil (90% of the world’s rapeseed crop is genetically modified!), canola oil (canola oil is extracted from rapeseed), rice-bran, grape-seed, sunflower or pure and light olive oils are subjected to chemical solvents, de-gumming and neutralisation (doesn’t even sound healthy does it?) and this processing removes some of the oil's nutrients and essential fatty acids, as well as their natural flavour and colour.
Consequently, when it came to making mayonnaise for this blog post I found myself having a “Daddy or chips?” moment!
I’ve previously tried making mayonnaise using the best quality organic cold-pressed olive oil (the classic ingredient used for making homemade mayo) and believe me it tastes downright nasty! Its flavour profile is just far too bitter and overpowering for a salad dressing, to be lathered on top of a sandwich, to make a self-respecting egg mayonnaise or as a complement to chicken, meat or fish and, as far as I’m concerned, it would be absolutely ruinous to chips!
I’ve also tried avocado oil, which wasn’t much better. Furthermore, both unrefined olive and avocado oils impart a dark greenish hue to the finished mayonnaise, which I find unattractive. I really just want my mayo a pale-ish golden colour, please!
I still have a bottle of macadamia nut oil waiting in the wings, but for now I’ve decided it’s just a bit too pricey for another culinary mistake, so I decided to use a hybrid version of cold-pressed organic sunflower oil today and…whoop-de-doo-da! Third time lucky!
The reason the Primal community usually tries to avoid sunflower seeds and sunflower seed oil is because they are really high in omega 6 oil. Not that there’s anything wrong with this per se, it’s just that most people are already into omega-6 fat overload (especially if they eat grains and grain fed meat) so the healthy balance between omega 3-6-9 fatty acids, which should be in the ration of 2-1-1 is all out of kilter with good health.
But wait, not all sunflower oil is high in omega-6. There is an alternative high-oleic sunflower oil that’s organic, cold pressed, very stable at high temperatures (as in, suitable for deep fat frying) and has the same monounsaturated fat found in olive oil and your very own adipose tissue. It’s totally tasteless too, which makes it a really good oil for Primal mayonnaise.
So now you know what all the fuss is about, please try this recipe at least once in order to appreciate its enticing balance of velvety smoothness and precisely seasoned piquancy. This homemade mayonnaise can only ever make a Chicken Salad Sandwich (recipe coming soon) or in this case, Sweet Potato Chips even nicer! I promise you, shop-bought mayo doesn’t come anywhere close to the real thing.
Sweet Potato Chips with Homemade Mayonnaise (V) (Serves 4)
Ingredients - for the sweet potato chips
4 orange-fleshed organic sweet potatoes
2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil (or Clearspring organic sunflower frying oil)
Celtic sea salt
Pre-heat the oven to 200℃ / 400 ℉ / Gas mark 6
Cut the sweet potatoes into even-sized chunky chips (thick wedges)
Put the chips into a large bowl with the olive oil and sea salt, mix thoroughly together with your hands so that the chips are evenly coated in the oil and salt.
Spread the sweet potato chips out onto a lipped baking tray in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then take the tray out of the oven and turn the chips over to ensure even browning. Return to the oven for a further 10 to 15 minutes until they are nicely crisp and brown.
Remove from the oven, and tip on to plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle over a little more sea salt, if liked and serve immediately with homemade mayonnaise.
Ingredients - for the mayonnaise
2 large organic egg yolks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp raw cider vinegar
½ tsp English mustard powder
10ml organic extra virgin olive oil
1-2 drops liquid stevia - optional
Lemon juice or extra vinegar, to taste
1-2 tbsp warm water to thin down, if liked
Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature before starting.
Combine the oils in a drip-free jug.
Whisk the egg yolks, salt, pepper, mustard power and cider vinegar in a bowl for a a minute or so.
Gradually and slowly start to add the oil to the egg yolk mixture a drop at a time, keep whisking all the time after each addition of oil to ensure it is properly incorporated before adding more oil. Do not try to rush things at this stage otherwise the mayonnaise will split. Keep adding the oil drop by drop. As the mixture thickens, you can then start to add it more quickly.
By the time all the oil is added you will have a thick stable mayonnaise that holds its shape. Taste it, adding more salt and pepper, mustard, lemon juice or vinegar and a drop of liquid stevia, only if you think it needs it. You can also add other flavourings such as chopped herbs. If you would prefer a thinner mayonnaise, add a little warm water (1-2 tablespoons) as well.
Keep the mayo refrigerated until you’re ready to eat it.
This quantity of mayonnaise makes enough for 8 people. Halve the recipe if this is too much for your family to get through within 3 days - it needs to be eaten within that time due to the inclusion of raw eggs.
In spite of us being in the midst of a 21st century obesity epidemic, many people still believe conventional wisdom, which says calorie counting and a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss. The reality is, if you’re trying to lose weight and stay that way, it’s sugar in all its forms that you need to seriously restrict, not healthy fats.
Remember, essential fatty acids are just that. They are ’essential’ because the body needs them, it can’t make them and they must be obtained from the food you eat, so please don’t try to omit healthy fats from your diet. It’s worth noting that unrefined oils, such as Coconut Oil, is 100% fat but is said to aid in weight loss!
I personally take daily supplements of fish and butter oil to ensure I get enough of the omega-3 fatty acids. These are associated with many health benefits including protection from heart disease and stroke. New studies are identifying potential benefits for a wide range of other conditions including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Carbohydrate 21g Protein 4 g - per sweet potato (100g weight)
Carbohydrate 2g Protein 4g - per serving of mayonnaise