BY NICK MACMAHON | 12 MARCH 2019
This is a recipe for a basic mayonnaise. Homemade mayonnaise is an entire world away from the jars of mayonnaise available at the supermarket. It's easy to make, cheap to make, tastes great and can last in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks.
Don't think of mayonnaise as just a sandwich spread. It's a tool for adding a creamy, unctuous element to your food, a vehicle for the other flavours of the dish. When incorporating mayonnaise into your food, think of it primarily as texture, rather than a flavour. For these reasons, you want to use a neutral, flavourless oil like; vegetable, sunflower, canola (rapeseed), etc. Just not olive oil. Olive oil usually has a strong flavour which can give your mayonnaise a pretty big flavour. You absolutely can make it with olive oil, it works well alongside roast meats but A true aioli is made with olive oil, but that is quite a different product to traditional mayonnaise.
When you make mayonnaise with a food processor, you can't avoid making a fairly large amount, it’s just the nature of the process. Other recipes exist to make smaller batches through hand whisking or using an immersion blender but this way is by far the quickest and easiest way.
If you don’t think you can use it all up, give some to your friends. Homemade mayonnaise is a weird but welcome gift.
The first thing you learn when you make mayonnaise is that it consists of about 99% oil. It can be quite shocking for the health-conscious, but knowing what goes into making ubiquitous food products like mayonnaise is an important life lesson. A great, healthier alternative if you want it, is greek yoghurt mixed with a little lemon juice and olive oil. It's not a straight swap but it can definitely provide the creaminess of mayonnaise without the health concerns. As always, moderation is key.
The ingredients for a basic mayonnaise are; egg, mustard, vinegar, and oil. You can scale this recipe up, but scaling down won't work.
1 whole egg
1 heaped teaspoon of dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or any vinegar that isn't strongly flavoured or overly acidic)
450ml of neutral oil (vegetable, sunflower, canola)
Measure out your oil into a measuring jug with a spout so that you can control your pouring. Add the egg, mustard and vinegar to the food processor and blend. Keep the food processor running and slowly add the oil, in a slow, steady stream. Don’t rush pouring or the mayonnaise won't emulsify properly and will 'split'. Feel free to slow the pouring or even stop to check the consistency, it won't ruin it. Once all the oil is added, the mayonnaise should be a semi-solid mass. Now add salt and pulse for a second to combine. Usually, a pinch or two of salt is all that's needed.
The mayonnaise will be pretty thick and can be easily spooned into a jar or container. If you want to transfer it into a squeeze bottle, you will need to thin it out. Add a tablespoon of cold water and pulse. If you want it smoother, add more water until you reach the desired consistency.
For adding additional flavours to mayonnaise, it’s as simple as adding ingredients at the beginning or end. For example, to make a garlic mayonnaise you don't want chunks of garlic in your mayonnaise, so adding garlic at the start with the egg, mustard and vinegar ensures the garlic is pulverised and evenly distributed. For something like a tartare sauce, having chunks of capers is desired. After the mayonnaise has come together, add a handful of roughly chopped capers and pulse a couple of times to combine.
Another way to add flavour is by flavouring your oil. Frying dried chillis and using the strained oil for mayonnaise is a great way to make a chilli mayonnaise.
With this basic recipe and knowing how to flavour your mayonnaise, you can get creative. Here are some different mayonnaises that are definitely worth trying.
1 clove of garlic, add at the start.
2 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon of capers
1 clove of garlic
Add ingredients at the start
1/2 cup of mixed soft herbs; dill, chives, basil, oregano, tarragon. Add at the start.
Tuna Mayo (Tonnato)
2 anchovy fillets and 1 tablespoon of capers, add at the start.
1 can of tuna, drained and roughly mashed up, add at the end.
350ml regular oil and 100ml Chilli oil or 1 deseeded chilli, add at the start.
1 tablespoon chopped capers
1 tablespoon roughly chopped gherkins or cornichons
1 chopped hardboiled egg
1 tablespoon chopped parsley and/or tarragon.
Add all at the end.