Mayo & Egg Salad from Local Hens

January 28th, 2010 / Comments 19

After I had decided to make egg salad to serve with tomato soup for a simple dinner, I discovered that there was no mayo in the fridge. Rather than hopping in the car and driving to the market, I decided that I had what I needed to make both mayonnaise and egg salad.

Ph araucana shells c egbert Mayo & Egg Salad from Local HensI had a dozen eggs from Thymless Herbs, a nearby farm in Bridgewater, Vermont. I could use one to make mayo and four to make egg salad. The egg shells ranged in color from creamy white to warm brown and shades of pale blue and soft gray green, more beautiful than eggs dyed for an Easter basket. Aracauna hens laid the blue and green eggs. It had never occurred to me that chickens had ears until Suzy Krawczyk, the farmer, explained that the color of each hen’s eggs matched the color of that hen’s ears. I find it nearly impossible to put the empty shells on the compost pile.

Ph mayo ingredients c egbert Mayo & Egg Salad from Local Hens

Mayo is an emulsion of oil suspended in the liquid of an egg, stabilized by lecithin in both mustard and egg yolks, and flavored with vinegar, salt and cayenne pepper.

With all of the ingredients in place, all I needed was a fork and a dinner plate to make mayonnaise.

Here’s how I made it:


I put a damp tea towel under a dinner plate to keep it from sliding about and cracked an egg onto it. The fresh egg had a golden yolk surrounded by a band of viscous, clear egg white. I mixed the egg with one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, half a teaspoon of kosher salt, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and a tiny pinch of cayenne until the salt had dissolved and the mixture was smooth. Then I poured half a cup of olive oil and half a cup of canola oil into a measuring cup.

I beat constantly as I added the oil, slowly, very slowly, drop by drop. I made sure that each drop was incorporated before adding the next. After I had incorporated a couple of teaspoons of oil, I was able to slowly increase the quantity of each addition. If oil is added too quickly, the emulsion will break or separate. If this happens, you can begin again by combining a second egg and half a teaspoon of mustard on a second plate and slowly adding the ‘broken’ mayo to this mixture.

The mayo thickened as the oil was incorporated – more oil means thicker mayo. The total amount of oil depends on the size of the egg and the desired consistency.  I put the finished mayo into a jar, labeled it and put it in the fridge.

I often vary the flavor of mayo with cider vinegar or lime juice instead of lemon juice, or by adding chopped fresh herbs like parsley, dill, thyme or tarragon or spice blends like curry powder or chili powder.

Homemade mayo is the perfect topper for poached fish or as the glue that holds a cucumber or watercress tea sandwich together. When flavored with curry powder and stirred into chicken salad it raises that age old question, “Which came first – the chicken or the egg?”

My favorite egg salad started with four eggs – two for each serving. Here’s how I made it:

Egg Salad

I put four eggs into a medium saucepan and covered them with cold water. I brought the water to a rolling boil, covered the pot and turned off the burner. I left the eggs in the water in the covered pot for fifteen minutes and then replaced the hot water with cold. I tapped the eggs under water against the side of the pan to crack the shells. Fresh eggs are more difficult to shell than old eggs and leaving the eggs to soak in the cold water for a few minutes made it easier to separate the shell from the egg.

I used a small food small food processor to finely chop the eggs before I stirred in half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of chopped, fresh dill, a pinch of salt, a grind of black pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a generous tablespoon of the mayo.

Served with warm, crusty toast and a bowl of tomato soup dinner was simply delicious.

Sharing my art is as much fun as sharing recipes – Click here to download a Print It Now or PIN to print a label for your jar of mayo.

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Mayo  List

  • 1 egg
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 c canola oil

Egg Salad List

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 t  Dijon mustard
  • 1 T chopped dill
  • a pinch of salt &  a grind of black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a generous tablespoon of the mayo.
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