I’m convinced that there isn’t a single person out there who doesn’t like mayonnaise. Sure, there are plenty of people who say they don’t like it.
“I’ll take the double bacon cheeseburger,” they say to the waiter. “But hold the mayo.”
These diners inevitably look around their table. “Ugh, I can’t stand mayo,” they declare smugly, as if removing that terribly indulgent, fatty sauce makes the meal they are about to consume infinitely lighter.
Now, I’m not calling mayonnaise as nutritious as kale. But I do believe the vast, and I mean vast, majority of people who say they hate mayo simply haven’t had the real deal. Because real, homemade mayonnaise is simple, honest, real food.
An egg yolk. Oil. Mustard. Lemon juice. Salt.
What’s so sinister about that?
I mean, I get it. Mayo out of a plastic tub or foil packet isn’t exactly appealing. It’s wiggly. And gloppy. And kind of blank tasting. Some processed versions are loaded with upwards of twenty ingredients, the main one being totally undesirable soybean oil.
On the other hand, homemade mayonnaise is silky, smooth and falls into light ribbons. It’s creamy with a bright flavor from the lemon and a sharp taste from the mustard. And if you can get your hands on a backyard fresh egg yolk….well, then. Just forget about it.
But while the ingredients are simple, getting them to emulsify isn’t. I wasted cups of organic ingredients trying to make mayo by whisking the oil slowly into the egg yolk, praying the mixture wouldn’t break. And when it inevitably did, I was left with an oily mess.
It wasn’t until I was encouraged to use my immersion blender to make mayo that things turned around.
Plunging the blender into the ingredients and slowly working it up through the mixture is just about foolproof.
The mayo comes out just as the French intended and makes any lunch, particularly this smoked salmon, bacon, tomato, chive and lettuce wrap, infinitely better.
This mayonnaise recipe is adapted from The New York Times. The addition of a little water helps the mixture come together. While the Times recommends whisking the oil into the egg yolk by hand, I’ve found much better success using an immersion blender.
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cold water
3/4 cup grape seed, olive or organic canola oil
Put the first five ingredients in the blending container that came with your immersion blender or a wide mouthed jar. Pour the oil into the jar. Push the blender to the bottom of the mixture and blend on low, gradually raising the blender up as the ingredients come together. Store the covered mayo in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.