Better than store-bought: Homemade mayonnaise.

I don’t like mayonnaise. Never have. Not on sandwiches, not in cole slaw, not in potato salad. I don’t even typically keep it in the fridge. I’m thoroughly grossed out by it.

Then I had homemade mayo. Wow. This stuff is rich and deeply flavored with egg, lemon and olive oil. Light years away from the commercial variety.

My first exposure to making my own mayo came from Martha Stewart’s incredibly delicious recipe for salt-and-pepper shrimp with aioli. Aioli is mayo enhanced with garlic, and it’s just stupid-good.

And really, mayonnaise is not all that difficult to make from scratch. The trick is getting the oil to fully incorporate with the rest of the ingredients to form a creamy, thick consistency (that’s called an emulsion). The New York Times recently posted a tip for homemade mayo: Add a bit of water to help with the emulsion. I find that my immersion (stick) blender is the perfect tool for making mayo.

This weekend, I had occasion to make a wonderfully seasonal potato salad with garlic scapes and snap peas; it called for mayo. I didn’t have any on hand, but I did have an egg, some Dijon mustard and a lemon. Voila: Homemade mayo.

The prepared mayo will keep for a week in the refrigerator; If you’re concerned about consuming raw egg, then you can use a pasteurized egg in this mayo recipe (it will keep longer).

homemade mayonnaise recipe

(makes 1 cup)

1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cold water
1/2 cup high-quality olive oil
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil

In the jar of an immersion blender or the bowl of a food processor, whirl together the egg yolk, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt and water. Measure the oils together in a liquid measuring cup with a spout. Keep the machine running and very slowly (like drop-by-drop) dribble the oil into the mixture. Slowly adding the oil allows the mayo to emulsify, or fully and permanently blend the oil and the non-oil liquids. Once you've got a golden, thick, whippy blend, then you can add the rest of the oil more quickly. Makes about 1 cup and keeps, refrigerated, for a week


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  1. Pingback: What to do with garlic scapes. | writes4food | recipes and wisdom from a Midwestern kitchen