mayonnaise

A kitchen staple, mayonnaise today is synonymous with the off-white goop in a jar. While it’s a great and easy spread for sandwiches, jarred mayonnaise (even organic!) contains a whole lot more than the four ingredients my French friend used when she showed me how to make it by hand: egg yolks, oil, mustard and lemon juice.

Why Should I Do It?

  1. Homemade mayonnaise taste worlds better — even mayo-haters will love the homemade stuff, which is more like a sauce than a goop.
  2. Like most homemade things, all-natural organic mayonnaise from right out of your kitchen is infinitely better for you. Select free-range eggs, organic lemons, good-quality oil and the best of French mustard.
  3. Homemade mayonnaise won’t keep for more than a day or two in the fridge, but after you see how easy it is to make, you’ll be searching for reasons to put it on the dinner table (and there are many: roast chicken, artichokes, boiled potatoes, egg salad, deviled eggs…).

How Do I Do It?

Making homemade mayonnaise is really simple, once you get the hang of it.

Ingredients

1 free-range egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon French mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup of your favorite organic vegetable or other mild-tasting oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Method

According to my friend, mayo connoisseurs can make the entire batch by hand: you place the yolk in the center of a plate and start whisking with a fork. Add the mustard, and then dribble the oil in, teaspoon by teaspoon, until the mayonnaise comes together. While I’ve seen it before my eyes, I don’t have biceps of steel… though I do have an electric mixer. Simply start your mixer on high and combine the yolk and mustard until they lighten in color. Then dribble the oil in, bit by bit, until the mayo comes together. Finally, add the lemon juice. You’re done!

A Few Extra Tips

Mayonnaise is a bit temperamental: there’s even a legend in France that says women on their period can’t make a good mayonnaise. That being said, there are some tips to help even first-timers make a good mayo.

  • If your mayo starts to separate, reduce the mixer to medium speed and mix without adding any oil. It should come back together quickly.
  • If your mayo isn’t thick enough, try adding a second yolk. Start the new yolk in a new bowl, and add your thin mayo, bit-by-bit, until it all comes together.
  • If you’re worried about bacteria in raw eggs, try coddling them first.
  • One more ingredient, and you’re on your way to aïoli!

Image: Jules:stonesoup