Serious Eats: Recipes

Sauced: Mayonnaise

[Photograph: Joshua Bousel]

I'd like to sell you mayonnaise as another easy-peasy DIY condiment—and in truth it is—but I'm writing this just half an hour short of whipping up a batch, and my whisking arm begs to differ. Sure, it takes a little effort to get it going, but learning how to create the lasting emulsion that makes mayo happen is an important step our collective "sauced" future.

I've found the way Alton Brown brings his mayonnaise ingredients together to be rather fail-safe, having it turn out right for me from the start. It all begins with an egg yolk, which is beaten with the dry ingredients, then with half of the acids, which forms an initial emulsion. Then, very slowly, drop-by-drop, a quarter of the oil is added to a constant whisk, which keeps the emulsion going. At the point where your arm is about the fall off, it finally gets easier when the rest of the acids are added and the oil is able to flow a little faster. With a final dash of pepper, a successful mayonnaise is born.

The abuse to the arm is well rewarded, homemade mayonnaise has a much fresher and brighter flavor than bottled. I spread a heap of mine onto two slices of toast, piled on peppered bacon, lettuce, and tomato, and was in heaven. The extra tang of this mayo was very present, making an already awesome sandwich all the more so.

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

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