Eggs And Mayo Is An Overlooked French Dish Cynics Need To Try

Depending on the dish, eggs can be the most complicated or the simplest things in the world to make, especially if the conversation concerns oeuf mayonnaise, or as it's known outside of France, eggs mayonnaise. The starter, which was once popular French bistro fare (but currently seeing a resurgence), consists of only two main ingredients: hard-boiled eggs and mayo. However, that doesn't mean the hors d'oeuvre can be neglected, especially since there's minimal room for error once you consider its modest presentation, as Chef Chris Edwards told Food52. And yet, this could be precisely why it's often discounted, although it shouldn't be. After all, not only is it a sensation in France, but the country has an organization, L'Association pour la sauvegard de l'oeuf mayonnaise (the Association to safeguard egg mayonnaise) or ASOM, determined to keep the dish alive, and it has hosted a yearly contest since 2018 to decide who has the best eggs mayo.  

Nevertheless, although the dish may seem blasé, it holds a world of flavor, notably if done with care and a little effort. However, most experts agree that while grocery-bought mayo can be used in a pinch, it typically isn't making the cut, especially after boiling the eggs just right. So, you'll have to make some mayonnaise. Either way, it's one of the many French egg dishes you should know about.

How to make Oeuf Mayonnaise

Since the hors d'oeuvre is just mayo and eggs, you can decide where to start depending on which task might take you the longest or be the easiest. However, regardless of whether you'll reach for a carton of eggs and bring a pot of water to a boil or gather your ingredients and an emulsion blender first, both steps need some patience and attention. This is because, as ASOM's current founder, Vincent Brenot (his grandfather, the famous food critic Claude Lebey, initially began the organization in 1990, but it disbanded after he died) told The New Yorker, the mayonnaise must thoroughly blanket the eggs. To do this, the ingredient should be carefully prepared and have a thinner consistency that may be more similar to hollandaise sauce rather than the dense stuff usually found in stores. Hence, it's better to make your own. Moreover, if making mayo with raw eggs seems scary, there's a trick you can use.

Additionally, ASOM has thoughts on the eggs as well. According to the organization's Egg Mayonnaise Charter, which can be found on its website, "Egg mayonnaise requires a large caliber egg cooked thoroughly but without excess so that the yolk, without being runny, retains its tenderness" And this can be tricky, especially since the way ASOM describes its ideal egg is subjective. For instance, obtaining a hard-boiled egg similar to the one the organization describes can take anywhere from seven to nine minutes.

Other additions and accompaniments to Oeuf Mayonnaise

If you made it this far, it's time to discuss plating and presentation. After all, the idea of having plain boiled eggs trenched in mayo doesn't sound very appetizing. But don't worry; there are several complementary additions that you can pair with eggs mayonnaise. Most renditions of the dish come garnished with ingredients like chives, anchovies, capers, mustard seed, roasted beets, pickles, crudités, and even caviar. In short, you can transform the dish into anything you want it to be. This is something that Dorie Greenspan (an author for The New York Times and friend of Chef Priscilla Martel) agreed with as she talked to Food52 about the appetizer's playability. "Once you learn how to make the mayonnaise, and once you get the eggs just the way you want them, you can just go crazy with it!"

So, even though the dish merely includes eggs and mayo, Oeuf Mayonnaise is nothing to scoff at. If you try it, the starter might become a go-to the next time you consider impressing some guests with some bistro fare.