Saturday 14 June 2014

Basic Mayonnaise

Rich, creamy, tangy mayonnaise is great as the base for many dips, sauces and as a spread. Making your own at home is easy, cost effective and tastes so much better than the stuff you buy at the store. You can season and flavour it just to your liking and you never have to make it the same way twice. All mayonnaise is is an emulsion of egg yolk and oil with seasoning, an acid and usually a touch of mustard. Some people add a little honey or sugar to theirs. 

The easiest way to make mayonnaise is with a stick blender and a beaker with straight sides. You can turn nothing into fresh mayonnaise in 60 seconds. A food processor makes a similarly simple task of it. You could make mayonnaise by hand with just a bowl and a whisk too. It's still simple just a little more time and effort. Just add your egg yolk, acid and mustard to a bowl, whisk to combine, then very slowly and steadily pour the oil in to your mixture while constantly whisking until it forms mayonnaise. If at any time it appears as though the oil is not whisking into the mayo, stop drizzling the oil and keep whisking until it completely emulsifies. Then carry on. After you created mayonnaise you can then season with salt and pepper (plus any spice, herb and/or flavouring you prefer). If you season before you incorporate the oil it will ruin the texture of the yolk and it won't work properly. 

I use a neutral ground nut oil for mayonnaise. Olive oil (especially extra virgin) has too strong a flavour that tends to cloy on the palette. Some people use a mixture of neutral oil and non-virgin olive oil but I think the straight up neutral works best. 

Yes, fresh mayonnaise contains raw egg in it. As long as you use fresh eggs, store it in the fridge and consume your mayonnaise within three days you should be fine. If you can find a farmer's market where you live you should be able to inquire when your eggs were laid. Here in Toronto, if you go to the farmer's market across the street from St Lawrence Market early enough on a Saturday you can buy eggs that were laid just the previous day. 


1 fresh egg yolk, room temperature
1 tbsp tarragon mustard (or any good quality mustard)
Juice of half a lemon (or a tbsp of vinegar)
3/4 cup of sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)
Salt & Pepper

Note: Depending on how large your egg yolk is, you might need up to a cup of oil

Since I have them, and it's much easier to make while taking photographs, for this demo I'm going to be using a stick blender and a beaker. 


Add your egg yolk, fresh lemon juice and mustard to the beaker.

Top up the contents of the beaker with the oil.

Insert the stick blender into the beaker until it reaches the bottom.

Begin pulsing the blender in short bursts, and like magic, it will instantly begin to create mayonnaise.

After a few bursts can you blend continuously without stopping. Blend until the entire base of the beaker has turned to mayonnaise.


Then start to raise the blender up and down to incorporate the rest of the oil.

Oh, look! You just made basic, bland mayo.

To finish, season to taste with salt and pepper and stir to combine. If you'd rather not have black flecks of pepper in your mayonnaise, use white peppercorns. 


There you have it. A very quick and simple yet excitingly versatile way to add some creamy richness to your next dish. I'm one of those people that likes French fries lightly dipped in mayo. It's fantastic on savoury sandwiches or the base of a tuna or chicken salad. There are so many directions you could take your mayonnaise from this point, too. 

Aside from adding any other spices or herbs to your mayo there are many other classic variations you can make. You could:

-Add fresh garlic paste and an extra kick of fresh lemon juice to make aioli
-Add roasted garlic for a savoury garlic mayo
-Add some relish, minced onion and lemon juice to make tartar sauce
-Add dried, ground chipotle powder for chipotle mayo
-Add Cajun mustard, green onion and horseradish to make a rémoulade
-Add buttermilk or sour cream with minced onion and seasonings to make your own ranch salad dressing

and whatever your heart desires.

This little batch is going to be used in an upcoming American classic that is perfect for summer. You don't want to miss it.

This is a really versatile recipe that I hope you can make good use of. If you've never made your own mayo before you should make a point of doing it soon. You may never buy premade mayonnaise again!


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