Yes, I’ll admit, it may seem strange to commit an entire blog post to such a readily available and everyday condiment, let alone mayonnaise. I’ll go even further and admit that 9 times out of 10, I use the bottled stuff. For what it lacks in taste, you really can’t beat the convenience. But every once in a while, making it from scratch is really worth it. The flavor is uncompromised and it can be used in so many different ways, whether on your favorite sandwich, as a garlic and herb studded alioli or even as the base for remoulade (with crab cakes, of course). For now though, I’ll start with a basic mayonnaise and address the variations in a later post.
The thing about homemade mayonnaise is that it requires few, almost always on-hand ingredients and very little time.
At the very core, mayonnaise is an emulsion. An emulsion is essentially a uniform mixture of otherwise unmixable ingredients. In this recipe, those ingredients are oil, water and lemon juice. The water and lemon juice do not tend to mix with oil unless you form an emulsion. Sound complicated? It isn’t. It just requires a little patience and correct measuring.
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup (7 – 10 ounces, by weight) vegetable oil – preferrably put in a squire bottle or container that has a pour-spout
In a glass bowl, add the yolk, salt, water and lemon juice. Whisk lightly to combine. Add 4 – 5 drops of oil to the mixture while whisking constantly. Once the mixture begins to lighten and thicken slightly, add a few more drops of oil while whisking. Continue adding a few drops at a time, two more times. The key is to whisk constantly and to not add more oil until it is “absorbed” by the mixture, otherwise known as forming an emulsion.
At this point, you can add the oil in a SLOW, steady stream, whisking all the while. Continue until all of the oil is added.
Makes about one cup of mayonnaise – keep refrigerated for up to one week.
That’s it – you’ve done it! Now go make some potato salad or a BLT and taste the difference….