I'd like to sell you mayonnaise as another easy 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 cooking technique that you'll use time and again.
It all begins with an egg, which is mixed with lemon juice, mustard, and garlic. Then, very slowly, drop by drop, a quarter of the oil is added while whisking, 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 oil is able to flow a little faster (but not too fast!).
While it's simple to make in a blender, whisking by hand yields slightly different results: a mayo with a fresh, bright flavor and silkier, saucier, more luxurious texture than bottled or blended varieties. I like to use this as a sauce for roasted and grilled meats and vegetables.
Why It Works
- Adding the oil in small increments ensures the mayo doesn't break.
- Whisking by hand creates a mayonnaise that's silkier and saucier than one made with a blender or food processor.
- Yield:Makes about 1 cup
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:15 minutes
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) Dijon Mustard
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice from 1/2 a fresh lemon
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup (235ml) extra-virgin olive oil
Set a medium bowl on a moist towel or rubber trivet to secure the base. Add egg, mustard, lemon juice, and garlic, and whisk to combine. Season with salt.
While whisking constantly and briskly, begin adding oil one drop at a time. When 1/4 cup of oil has been added, start adding the oil in a slow, steady stream while continuing to whisk constantly; stop adding oil if too much accumulates in the bowl, only starting again after the excess has been whisked into the creamy sauce that is forming. When all the oil has been added, a thick, silky sauce will have formed. Season with salt.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.