Dont Be Hatin' on the Mayo: Delicious Mayonnaise Hacks

Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip™? That's an often asked question, but the truth of the matter there are very big differences between the two. The latter, Miracle Whip has sweeteners in it and is not the traditional mayonnaise or even close to what Julia Child would accept. 

Through the years, mayonnaise has received a bad rap, First, it got the blame for Aunt Harriet's potato salad you caught food poisoning from during the family picnic. If commercial mayo was used on your salad, it wasn't the fault of the mayo, but the actual potatoes. Bacteria loves potatoes and pasta. Commercial mayonnaise has plenty of acids (lemon juice and/or vinegar) which bacteria don't like.  

No doubt there are a few mayo haters out there, but I have to wonder if you made Julia's recipe from scratch, it could be a turning point for you. Making your own French-style mayonnaise is wonderful. I use to make it at least once a week with my handy blender. 

However, when using these hacks I am suggesting, use commercial mayonnaise - - use the BEST! Please don't use these so-called "healthy" mayo's that have removed the eggs, oils, and now are mostly water and chemicals. Again, use the BEST for the BEST results. 

Once upon a time, I discovered that mayonnaise was more than just a "lubricant" for sandwiches and salads. Picture this - me, a young housewife attending the annual Catholic Daughter's wine tasting event at our church. One of the appetizers served was this wonderful baked-melty-cheesy-olive-y concoction on slices of bite-size toasted baguettes. 

This savory little appetizer captivated me for a while until one of the ladies shared the secret - about a cup of grated cheese (Cheddar and/or Jack), 2 tbsp (or more) chopped black olives, 1/2 tbsp (or more) of very fine grated onion, and about 3/4 cup (or more) of mayonnaise to bind until it is spreadable.  For some time now I do it according to eye. Lost the recipe somewhere, but no matter it works. Spread on toasted baguette slices, and bake around 350-400 degrees until bubbly. They rather taste like little mini pizzas. It's one of those appetizers that one usually has all of the ingredients around for last-minute guests. 

Since then, I've seen a very similar recipe, Olive Cheese Bread, by Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman. All these years, I never knew that mayonnaise could bake and taste so delicious. 

Run out of softened butter to spread on soon-to-be grilled cheese sandwiches? Use mayonnaise. Bon Appetit says so, and so do I. Spread the mayonnaise as if you are spreading softened butter on the bread before grilling. It gives the bread a perfect toasted color and adds just a little savory component. Mayo haters will never know. And speaking of pimento cheese, as per Bon Appetit... 

Pimento cheese spread (no, not the jar stuff, and yes, my personal favorite recipe)  is a favorite southern condiment on little tea sandwiches or stuffed in celery. Cheese lovers who hate mayo will love this - - shhh, don't tell them.

Skip the butter and add mayonnaise to the corn on the cob. Spread mayonnaise on the corn before grilling. It adds moisture and a toasted 
caramelized flavor. Unlike butter, it won't slide off. After the corn cooks, add more mayonnaise as it sticks well sprinkled with grated Parmesan or crumbled Cotija cheese. Fancy up the mayo ahead of time by adding some favorite spices, like curry or chili powder, or herbs like basil or cilantro. 

A friend's secret to moist baked salmon was stuffing a whole salmon (head and tail removed) with herbs, sliced tomato, lemon, and onion, then slathering the top of the skin with lots of mayonnaise. Wrapped tightly in foil, placed in a slow oven, and she walked away. A couple of hours later when done; the skin would peel off, the herbs and vegetables would be removed and tossed, and what would be left was flavorful and very moist salmon. Another trick that mayo haters will never be the wiser. 

Hot dips such as artichoke and spinach, corn, and even cheesy onion dips - and yes, I have made every dip recipe listed, and yes - - they all call for mayonnaise. However, for the cheesy onion dip, I switched out the Vadalia for Walla Walla Sweet Onions - due to Walla Walla Sweets practically grows in my back yard. And last but not least, the recipe I posted, Savory Southern Tomato Pie was a big hit - literally with many hits! Yup, it had mayonnaise in it. 

PS -11/21/16: Since I posted the above, I came across a recipe by handsome executive chef, TV host, author, New York City, and Beverley Hills restaurateur, Geoffrey Zakarian. Guess what special ingredient he uses in his Turkey Wet Rub Recipe?


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