The first time I made mayonnaise from scratch, I felt something break open in me.
That may sound dramatic but it’s true. Almost all the food I ate as a kid came out of a package, other than fruits and vegetables and meat. Honestly, I had no idea that mayonnaise was something I could make. I didn’t know that it could be silky and unctuous instead of whipped full of air and pumped into a jar. I didn’t know that until I was well into my 30s.
Danny showed me how to make mayonnaise just after we met. He grabbed eggs, mustard, lemon juice, and oil. “That’s it?” I asked him.
All he did was whirl that food processor, then pour, slowly, slowly, the oil into the dervish of egg, egg yolk, mustard, and lemon juice. Within a few moments, it was creamy mayonnaise, the best-tasting mayonnaise I have ever eaten.
And quickly after there was tarragon mayonnaise, aioli, smoked paprika mayonnaise, and every other kind I could try. It was so damned easy, every single time.
Making mayonnaise led to making vinaigrettes, which led to pickled vegetables, which led to making ice cream from scratch, which led to making cashew cream and jams and smoked salmon and bacon. Once I started making food from scratch, I couldn’t stop. It’s all so much easier than it seems. There’s relief in knowing that, a comfort. And a confidence in the kitchen that hasn’t stopped growing. Every time I step into the kitchen, I want to learn more.
It’s amazing what can happen when you learn to make mayonnaise.
That’s why we’ve made you a video. Look how easy this is.
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cups neutral-tasting oil, such as canola or sunflower
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
Making the mayonnaise. Put the eggs, egg yolks, and mustard in the food processor. (You can make mayonnaise by hand, but it is much easier and more fail-safe in the food processor. Trust us.) While the machine is running, slowly drizzle in the oil, until it is thick and creamy. Pour in the lemon juice and continue whirling until the lemon juice is fully incorporated. Add salt and pepper.
If the mayonnaise feels too thick, add a few drops of water to thin it out.
Fixing your mistakes. If you add the oil too fast, the mayonnaise will separate, so go slowly, slowly, slowly. If it does separate, take the mixture out of the food processor and start over. Put another egg and egg yolk into the food processor and blend them. Slowly, slowly add the separated mayonnaise. That should do the trick.
Makes about 3 cups.
p.s. If you’ve been reading for awhile, you may remember that we did a piece years ago on how to make homemade mayonnaise, along with a dark, primitive video. We want you to make mayonnaise so we made a better video for you, with the help of Debra and Rod from Smith Bites Photography.