Homemade Mayonnaise: A Love Story (Sort Of)
- Prep Time 0:25
- Estimated Cost $2
- 20 Comments
I have considered, more than once, that perhaps I write about food because what I actually want to write about is love, but am afraid to do so. Food is a safe topic for me—I’m good with food, I understand it. I can write about it from a place of authority because I’m sure of myself in a kitchen. Love, however is a different story.
So, I guess what I’m saying is that this post isn’t really about mayonnaise.
I made mayonnaise, today, yes. I’d been wanting to try it for awhile—I’d heard that homemade mayonnaise is a different animal from the store-bought stuff—and a great, inexpensive way to take recipes calling for mayo to new levels.
So I gathered the ingredients for a batch of fresh, rich, egg-yolky, olive-oily, lightly-lemony mayonnaise and set about whisking until my arm felt like it was going to fall off. Despite my efforts, however I found myself with a bowl of oily, “broken” aioli, or what WikiHow called, in the post I consulted for guidance, “a useless pile of oil and egg yolk.” The problem, I surmised, after reading the article, was that I had added the oil too quickly. Instead of very slowly streaming it into the bowl of egg yolks in a thin and steady stream, I had glug-glugged it in choppy increments, beaten the bejesus out of the mixture, then added more oil and repeated the process. I had been overzealous and careless and there was, it seemed, no saving my would-be mayonnaise. Kind of, I thought to myself uncharitably, my most recent romantic fiasco heavy on my mind, like the way I fall in love.
So there I was, holding a bowl containing a cup-and-a-half of good olive oil, 3 egg yolks and the juice of a fresh lemon—all wasted—with a sore arm, dwelling on both my culinary and romantic failures. The cheesy Toni Braxton song, Unbreak My Heart ran through my head as I simultaneously wished for ways to repair both my mayonnaise and love life.
I figured there was nothing I could do (at least at that moment) about my oft-breaking heart, but I was fiercely determined to unbreak my mayonnaise. So I went back to the aforementioned article and reviewed the “tips” section. To recover a broken mayonnaise, it said, place a teaspoon of water into another bowl and then add the broken mayonnaise drop by drop into the water while whisking, just like you added the oil to the egg yolks before. When you have incorporated all of the broken mayonnaise into the water, slowly add the remaining oil (if any) while whisking, just like before.
I had nothing to lose, so I did as the article said, exercising caution as I poured the oil-and-egg mixture from a spouted measuring cup, drop by drop into the tiny pool of water. I whisked and whisked and, lo and behold, a thick, creamy sauce eventually began to form. It seemed like an eternity before I poured the last few drops out, my wrist aching from holding the cup at such an awkward angle, but by the time I finished, the result was a velvet-smooth, pale yellow sauce—totally different from (and far tastier than) store-bought mayonnaise.
I scraped most of it into a jar to be stored in the refrigerator, and stirred a few tablespoons together with some minced garlic, fresh herbs and paprika to make a perky aioli to serve with sweet potato oven fries.
And so, I learned, some things can, in fact, be unbroken provided you exercise a little creativity, restraint and perhaps most importantly, the willingness to try again.
- 3 egg yolks, at room temperature $1.50 for 6 eggs
- juice of 1 lemon $0.50
- 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil Pantry
- salt and pepper to taste Pantry
Recipe Serves 10
- Whisk together the egg yolks and lemon juice in a large bowl.
- Very slowly, whisk in the oil, pouring it in an extremely thin, steady stream.
- This should take several minutes.
- A thick creamy mayonnaise will form.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- For help, see this article.