Mayonnaise is probably one of the most flexible condiments in any pantry. It’s the base for many sauces and dips and is just as great on its own. The creamy emulsion of oil, egg yolk, and vinegar has a neutral taste that lends itself well to the addition of other ingredients, often making it the foundation of choice. But its versatility does not stop there – there’s so much more that mayonnaise can do, which makes it a great base for many of the dishes on a menu.
The high-fat content of the product is its main selling point; because of it, mayo can be used as a substitute for eggs or even butter. Take recipes for chocolate cake for example: butter was often far too expensive during wartime periods, so mayonnaise became a staple for cooks whose goods were rationed. It’s kind of genius because cakes already contain a lot of the ingredients found in mayonnaise – oil and eggs – making the seemingly odd combination quite practical. Mayonnaise contains a lot of vegetable oil, which makes cakes incredibly moist, and the hint of acidity in the ingredient makes the components of cakes come together to produce better texture, or as bakers call it, a finer crumb.
If a sweet recipe still might seem a little too left-field, there’s a lot more that mayonnaise can do in savoury applications. We’ve discovered that you can actually use mayonnaise in two ways on your pizza: if you’re in a pinch and out of oil and eggs, roll it into your dough to achieve chewiness in the crust. You can also use it to create a neutral white sauce for pizza bianca – a fresh, tomato sauce-less take on the traditional pie.
Another amazing thing mayonnaise can do is act in place of eggs, milk and flour in rubs and breading without adding any extra flavour to dishes. If you’re breading a cutlet for chicken parmigiana, veal milanese or pork schnitzel, add a thin layer of mayonnaise for your crumbs to adhere to your protein well. It’s also good at crisping things up: cooks often slather it outside of sandwiches before grilling or frying to create a lovely, golden exterior to the bread. Grilled cheese sandwiches take on both extra crunch and flavour when mayonnaise is used to uplift the simple snack.
These are just some reasons why mayonnaise is one of the best bets when it comes to ordering ingredients for your walk-in; the ingredient works wonders as a substitute when you're out of options. It's also a cheaper alternative to a lot of items in your pantry and can achieve delicious results without making a huge difference to any recipe.