Classic French oeuf mayonnaise, cheap trick or genius treat?
Go to any Parisian bistro and you will find oeuf mayonnaise on the menu. What is the secret behind these simple hard boiled eggs and mayo?
Are you familiar with oeuf mayonnaise?
You might also find it under the name of egg mayo or oeuf mayo.
But what is it exactly?
Let’s take a closer look at this French classic!
Theoretically oeuf is spelled ‘œuf’, a lowercase ligature of the letters o and e that is pronounced as ‘u’, as in the word ‘under’. So œuf mayo sounds like ‘uf mayo’.
The plural version of œuf (egg) is œufs (eggs), and is pronounced as ‘eu’ – the f sound disappears.
We just got back from a lovely couple of days in Paris, France.
Stayed in this great 5 star hotel near the Champs-Élysées.
Have you been to Paris – let alone France before?
Lots to see and do.
But – no surprises there – we are there for the food.
And especially the old fashioned bistro and restaurant classics.
Take any menu in a traditional French bistro and you will see the same appetizers and starters.
Our topic here: oeuf mayonnaise of course, and other treats such as herring potato salad, French onion soup, bone marrow, escargots, pâté in pastry, leeks vinaigrette, baked Saint-Marcellin or camembert cheese, foie gras…
We could go on for ages here.
Cheap French bistro classics
Do you know what they all have in common?
Their low price!
You will rarely pay above 10 euros for an appetizer like that.
On the contrary.
Let’s take our oeuf mayonnaise for instance: depending on where you go, this egg mayonnaise will cost you between 90 cents and 7 euros.
No, that is not a typo.
Some places charge less than 1 euro for an oeuf mayonnaise. In Café Le Voltaire in Paris you pay 90 cents. Another place we love, Le Bouillon Chartier, has oeuf mayonnaise on their menu for 2 euros.
On our last Paris trip a few days ago we ordered egg mayo at restaurants Astair (5 euros), Les Marches (6 euros) and Le Bouillon Pigalle (2,40 euros).
Some chefs give their egg mayo an extra culinary twist.
You will find mayo eggs with extra fancier ingredients such as crab meat, shaved truffle, caviar, foie gras or bottarga etc.
Needless to say that in this case you will have to cough up a little more than 90 cents.
These egg mayo creations are pricier: from 12 up to 30 euros.
Association de sauvegarde de l’oeuf mayonnaise
Although egg mayonnaise is a classic, it has had its ups and downs.
There is this organization called the Association de sauvegarde de l’oeuf mayonnaise (A.S.O.M.) or in other words the Association to Safeguard Egg Mayonnaise.
It was founded in 1990 by Claude Lebey, a French food critic.
He wanted to preserve the Parisian egg mayo bistro tradition at all costs so his organisation started an annual egg mayo competition to highlight its cultural importance in France.
Pierre et Guillaume Moussié of Bouillon Pigalle served the best egg mayo in 2019.
In 2021 Sébastien Devos of La Rôtisserie d’Argent in Paris was the winner. His secret: an organic egg, boiled for 8 minutes and 40 seconds, served on a potato slice, topped off with a homemade sunflower and peanut oil mayonnaise and pickled mustard seeds.
Oeuf mayonnaise vs. deviled eggs
Are deviled eggs and oeuf mayo the same?
No, the difference is in the plating.
Oeuf mayo is a simple sliced boiled egg topped off or served alongside a dollops of mayo.
Deviled eggs are stuffed with a mayo and boiled egg yolk mixture. You can also find deviled eggs in France and Paris, they are called eggs mimosa or oeuf mimosa.
Our oeuf mayonnaise recipe
How do we make egg mayo at home?
Here it is!
First off, the eggs.
Make sure that the fresh eggs you are using are at room temperature, otherwise they will crack when they go into the boiling water. You want a perfectly shaped egg white, not a wonky one.
Bring a pan of water to a good boil, then turn the heat down a little. Carefully add the eggs with a slotted spoon. Boil them for about 9 minutes. Once boiled, transfer the eggs to an ice bath or cool them off under cold running tap water.
While the eggs are boiling, make a mayonnaise from scratch.
You can find our step by step recipe here, and we even made a video!
Put it in the fridge and peel the cooled boiled eggs.
Slice them in half and place them on a plate.
Top each half off with a dollop of mayo.
How hard could it be?