The best purchase I’ve ever made was my food processor. It does all the work for me and then some. It grates, cuts, chops, mashes and whisks pretty much anything I feed it. I’d be completely lost without it. One of those ‘try before you die’ (kitchen) things for me was making my own mayonnaise. So I broke out my food processor.
Tried to use my blender (several times) and things just got real messy while pouring the oil. Tried my food processor and even though it worked, it still didn’t come out quite right—-not to mention it only worked when I’d make large quantities, which I don’t need. I still have to give my immersion blender a try; I can see how it could easily do the job, but since I want to play fair, I’ll refrain from using it.
Today I’ll bravely face some hefty manual labor. I don’t make mayonnaise too often because, well, whipping anything for 5 minutes straight is just beyond my seriously underdeveloped forearms. However, a great home-made aioli is simply the best, so I’ll challenge myself for the sake of blogging.
Along with my butter, this is really one of those ‘must have’ recipes for my food blog, so here we go. It’s just fun to make mayonnaise yourself every now and then and quite simple when you know the right tricks.
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon bottled lemon juice
1 cup oil
Gather your ingredients. I’ve poured 1 cup of oil in a special oil bottle; it allows me to slowly drizzle the oil without accidently adding large splashes and ruining the emulsion. Any other squeeze bottle will be fine as well. Or just use your measuring cup and be careful when pouring the oil. A key thing in the mayonnaise making business is using room-temperature ingredients.
Then I find myself gazing longingly at my blender and I sigh a deep sigh. Should I try once more? It’ll be so much easier. Nah, I’ll be strong this time.
Mix the vinegar with the sugar, salt, lemon juice and water. Whisk until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved. If you like your mayo sweet, up the sugar a bit.
Grab a really clean (fat-free) bowl and add the egg yolk. To play it safe you can actually buy special pasteurized shell eggs. Must do if you’re pregnant or have kids. Whisk for about 15 to 30 seconds. You can use the egg white for a different recipe, as a matter of fact, you can even freeze it, that way you can save them ’til you have enough for a cake or meringue. I just dislike throwing food away—even an egg white—so my freezer is stuffed with things like this.
Add half the vinegar mixture. You can also replace the vinegar with mustard, but I personally prefer using vinegar.
Now whisk as if your life depended on it. You’ll want to get an emulsion going before you start adding the oil. If you don’t, you’ll soon find yourself back to square one.
Use your oil of choice. I’m going for a mild olive oil, but it also works with canola oil, grape-seed oil, walnut oil, or a really peppery olive oil. Tons of different oils will work, just take your pick.
As soon as you get a pudding like substance, that’s your cue to start drizzling in the oil. Very, very slowly while you keep whisking vigorously.
After you’ve used about half the oil your mayonnaise should be quite firm. I was whisking so hard I completely forgot to take a pic at the ‘really firm’ stage and was almost done here. Sorry. Forgive me?
That’s when you add the remaining vinegar. This is also the point where you can start adding a little more oil at a time.
Keep adding oil and whisking until you have a consistency you like. It shouldn’t be really thick (unless you like that) but your whisk should be able to form ‘peaks’ and make ribbons. If it’s too thick add some water (one tsp at a time) if it’s too thin, add more oil and keep whisking. Now give it a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Cayenne pepper gives a bit of zing as well!
Grab a very clean jar. I’m using this one; bought it at the supermarket—it came filled with commercial mayonnaise—and been using it ever since. It just screams ‘home made’ to me. A lot of things are pretty much the same in various languages, as you can see the only difference between English/American and Dutch mayo is just one n.
Put the mayonnaise in the jar and leave it on your kitchen counter for several hours before fridgerating it. This is a very important step. The acids in the lemon and vinegar will kill the bacteria in your mayonnaise, but this process simply won’t take place in your fridge, so leave it on the counter top for a while (a minimum of 1 hour). Don’t be scared! I know what I’m doing … I think.
There you have it. Your very own mayonnaise.
Now add garlic, a few drops balsamic vinegar and a little pepper and you have an absolutely amazing aioli. Add finely minced gherkin, fresh parsley, some tarragon and chervil, a few capers, a tiny bit of mustard and some anchovy and you have a fantastic remoulade for your fish recipes or crab cakes! Go wild.
Note: I never keep a jar of homemade mayonnaise in my fridge for longer than a week.