Joy Magazine

The Delicious - and Easy - Taste of Homemade Mayonnaise

Eating homemade mayonnaise is the kind of luxurious pleasure — like eating chocolate in the bath — that shouldn't require an apology. Rich yet subtle in flavor, with a pillowy texture, homemade mayo is nothing like the pale, cloying stuff you get out of a jar.

It dresses up, too. Spiked with chiles or shot with saffron, mayonnaise is the perfect secret weapon for a tapas party.

IMMERSION BLENDER MAYONNAISE

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Generous pinch of fine sea salt

Generous pinch of white pepper

1 cup canola oil

1/2 cup good-quality olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place the yolks, vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, salt and pepper in a 2-cup measuring cup or a tall beaker used for immersion blenders. Stand the immersion blender in the beaker or measuring cup, then slowly pour in the canola oil so that it settles on top of the other ingredients. (If you've heated the yolks first, allow them, along with the vinegar, salt and pepper, to settle for about 5 minutes after adding the oil so that the oil rises to the top.)

With the blender held against the bottom of the glass, pulse until the mixture begins to emulsify, almost immediately. Continue to pulse, turning the blender a bit, but keeping it pressed against the bottom of the container. Keep pulsing until most of the mayonnaise is emulsified, less than 1 minute, then slowly plunge the blender a bit to mix thoroughly. Spoon the mayonnaise into a medium bowl, then whisk in the olive oil and lemon juice until very well combined. Serve immediately or store tightly covered in the refrigerator for as long as 2 days.

USING A FOOD PROCESSOR

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the yolks, vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, salt and pepper until well combined.

Add the canola oil in a very, very slow stream until the mayonnaise thickens and all of the oil is incorporated. Spoon the mayonnaise into a medium bowl and whisk in the olive oil and lemon juice until very well combined. Serve immediately or store tightly covered in the refrigerator for as long as 2 days.

Total time: About 8 minutes

Servings: About 2 cups

Mayonnaise is a notoriously breakable emulsion or combination of two liquids (such as oil and water) that can't be mixed but can be held together in a kind of suspension. But it's easy to make if you know some tricks — and the payoffs are big.

To make immersion blender mayo, allow your ingredients to come to room temperature (this is crucial). Place them in the beaker that came with the blender or in a liquid measuring cup or jar with tall, narrow sides.

Place the blender wand in the container and hold it upright against the bottom. Then slowly pour in a cup of canola or other neutral oil (don't use olive oil at this stage; it's expensive, more difficult to emulsify and often turns bitter when mixed in a blender), allowing the oil to settle on top.

Pulse the blender, briefly and on high speed if it has adjustable speeds. Continue to pulse, and watch as the pale mayonnaise begins to bloom up through the oil.

Pulse a few more times, until the pale clouds rise up and overwhelm the oil like an establishing weather front.

When the container is mostly cloud-filled, plunge the blender to incorporate the remainder of the oil.

Once the ingredients have emulsified, gently whisk in good-quality olive oil and fresh lemon juice. The floral notes of the olive oil and the tart bite of lemon enhance the flavor and smooth the texture, making it creamier. (Lemon juice added at the beginning instead of water makes an oddly rougher sauce, less pale and velvety, more likely to separate; the water makes the sauce lighter and smoother.)

The sauce is now a classic basic mayonnaise, ready for spreading on sandwiches, adding to salads or dressings, spooning over fish before roasting or serving in a bowl alongside a basket of hand-cut French fries.

For people concerned about salmonella, place the yolks and 1 tablespoon of water in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the yolks reach 160 degrees (they will thicken noticeably and lighten in color), then proceed with the recipe.

For additional flavorings add the following:

  • Chipotle mayonnaise: Add one-quarter cup pureed canned chipotle chiles in "adobo" to a bowl of basic mayonnaise.
  • Piquillo pepper mayonnaise: Follow the basic mayonnaise recipe, substituting sherry vinegar for the white wine vinegar. Add one-quarter cup pureed piquillo peppers and a pinch of cayenne to the mayonnaise.
  • Saffron mayonnaise: Soak a pinch of saffron threads in 1 tablespoon of hot water for 15 minutes, then add the water and threads to the egg-yolk base in place of the plain water. Continue with the recipe for basic mayonnaise.
  • Tarragon-mustard mayonnaise: Add one-quarter cup finely minced fresh tarragon and one-quarter cup stone-ground mustard to the basic mayonnaise recipe.
  • Cilantro-lime mayonnaise: Make the basic mayonnaise, replacing the lemon juice with lime juice and adding one-quarter cup finely minced fresh cilantro to the sauce.
  • Cumin-caraway mayonnaise: Toast 1 tablespoon each of cumin seeds and caraway seeds in a small saucepan, then grind in a spice grinder. Add to the basic mayonnaise.
  • Garlic mayonnaise (aioli): Using a mortar and pestle, crush 4 garlic cloves with one-quarter teaspoon kosher salt, then add to the egg-yolk mixture. Omit the salt, and continue with the rest of the recipe for basic mayonnaise.
  • Mustard-caper mayonnaise: To a recipe of basic mayonnaise, add 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons minced capers, 1 mashed anchovy and 1 tablespoon each minced fresh chervil, tarragon and parsley.
  • Wasabi mayonnaise: To a recipe of basic mayonnaise, add 1 tablespoon fresh or prepared wasabi (Japanese horseradish).

LA TIMES-WASHINGTON POST


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