I have yet to encounter a condiment that didn’t taste way better when I made it myself. It might have something to do with with I just did that! feeling I get when I cook something and it works out. It might be that it’s freshly made, and that store-bought condiments right out of the vat, or wherever, taste just as good. Who knows? But every time I make something simple like salsa, a vinaigrette, or this mayonnaise, I’m blown away, the taste is amazing. It tastes like mayonnaise but more so, like a photograph with saturated colours.
I defy you to make this mayonnaise and not constantly taste it with your finger.
You know why you have to shake the bejeezus out of salad dressing to mix the oil and vinegar? It’s because oil and vinegar don’t mix naturally. It’s known as an unstable emulsion; leave the dressing alone and it will break down into oil and vinegar again. Add mustard, an emulsifier, though, and it’ll stay a dressing. Mayonnaise is a stable emulsion. Egg yolks and mustard are emulsifiers. It’s actually neat to watch the process happen right before your eyes. One second it’s this runny liquid, then it becomes thick and creamy, all through mixing. Brilliant.
Store this in the fridge. It lasts no more than a week.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 1/4 cup peanut oil
Place the yolks, mustard, vinegar and a pinch of salt into a food processor, the small bowl if you have one. Turn on the food processor.
Slowly drizzle the oil into the food processor until the mixture emulsifies. Once it does you can add the oil more quickly. Care is required; watch the mixture to see that it doesn’t break. If it does, take the broken mayo out of the bowl, add another egg yolk and a little more mustard. Wazz for a minute, then slowly add the broken mayo back in.
Now’s the time to add any special ingredient you want, if desired: garlic, pesto, an herb, whatever. Add the ingredient and give the food processor a pulse to combine. If you want to be pedantic, only call it aioli if you add garlic.