I have another confession to make. When I was a little mouse, one of my absolute favorite treats was a mayonnaise sandwich. Yep, you heard right. A big dollop of Hellmann’s spread on a slice of white bread, then folded in half. (Jam sandwiches, a la Paddington Bear, were a close second.) These days, I still love my mayo. Here are step-by-step instructions for how to make my version of aioli, Miss. Mayonnaise’s sophisticated French cousin.
Making mayonnaise at home may sound daunting, but it really isn’t. (Can I get an “amen?” Who else out there makes their own mayo?)
You can use a hand-held electric mixer to make it, or do it the old-fashioned wayâ€”with a whisk and a little elbow grease (your biceps will thank you).
Back up, Mouse. Just what is mayonnaise, anyways?
Good question. The main ingredients in mayonnaise are egg yolks and oil.
The oil is whipped together with the egg yolk bit by bit, so that it emulsifies. This part needs to be done slowly. If you dump in all the oil at once, it just won’t work. You need to build the emulsion bit by bit.
Add a little vinegar, a little salt, and a little lemon juice, and eventually that gloriously thick and piquant condiment so many of us know and love will begin to emerge.
One of the great things about making your own mayo is that you control exactly what goes in it, and can skip the emulsifiers and stabilizers found in a lot of commercial products.
Plus, it’s kind of fun to say, “Hey, that mayo? I made it myself!”
OK, so what is aioli, then?
Pronounced “ay-O-lee,” aioli is a garlicky mayonnaise that comes from the Provence region of Southern France. It’s often served as a garnish or dipping sauce for seafood, veggies, and some meats.
Peppery Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato Sandwich with Prosciutto
But, like regular mayo, the uses for aioli are kind of unlimited. You can slather it on an indulgent BLT. You can drizzle it in soup. Or serve it with fried potatoes. Or dip chips in it. You get the picture.
About eating raw eggs
Here’s the obligatory raw egg warning: Consuming raw or undercooked eggs, beef, fish and/or poultry may increase your risk of food borne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions. Use pasteurized egg yolk, if you like.
Homemade Garlic Mayonnaise (a.k.a. Aioli)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, mashed
Yields about one cup of mayo. Keeps for about 3 days in the fridge.
Beat the egg yolk with the vinegar and lemon
Grab your egg yolk.
Toss it into a medium-sized bowl with the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and salt. For a thinner mayo, add a little more lemon juice.
Beat them together with a whisk or handheld mixer until well combined.
Add the olive oil by the teaspoon
This isn’t as silly or tedious as it sounds. Measure out your olive oil.
Add a teaspoon of the olive oil into the egg mixture.
Beat with a whisk until the olive oil is completely combined. The mixture should be yellow, frothy, and opaque. You want to beat it until all the droplets of olive oil have disappeared.
Repeat this processâ€”adding a teaspoon, then beating to emulsify itâ€”until you’ve added about 1/4 cup of the oil. As you go, the mixture should begin to turn a creamy yellow, and become more and more opaque.
When you’ve added 1/4 of a cup of oil by the spoonful, your emulsion should be off to a really good start.
It should coat the back of a spoon like this, but should still be pretty thin.
Drizzle in the rest of the olive oil
Start to drizzle the oil in, beating it as you go to incorporate it completely. Go slowly, and be patient. If you add the oil too fast, or dump it in all at once, the oil will overwhelm the emulsion you’ve built and it will separate.
After a minute or two of drizzling and beating, your mayo should start to look very creamy, like this:
When all the oil has been incorporated, the mayo should be thick, glossy, and opaque.
It should stick to the back of a spoon, like this:
Add the mashed garlic and whisk to combine.
Give it a taste, and add a little more salt if you like. When you’re happy with it, pour the mayo into a glass jar or bowl.
Cover it well and pop it into the fridge. It will thicken up more as it gets cold.
Use within 3 days or so.