Much has been written about the difficulty of making mayonnaise, but in fact it’s quite simple. The key? Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature – and take your time with the oil. It doesn’t matter what kind of spoon you use, but you will do yourself a favor if you place your bowl on a board or a pot holder to keep it from slipping around.
This recipe produces a classic French mayonnaise. If you’d like a southern French flavor, add a bit more olive oil. For a video demonstration, click on the video below.
2 egg yolks at room temperature
1/2 cup sunflower oil or another salad oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
Place the yolks in a ceramic or glass bowl heavy enough to hold still while you stir. Add a few drops of lemon juice and 1 tsp. mustard to the yolks. Stir to blend thoroughly.
Now begin adding the oil drop by drop, stirring constantly. The easiest method I’ve found is to hold the oil bottle in my left hand with the tip resting on the edge of the bowl, and to stir with my right hand. Once the sauce starts to hold together, you may add the oil more quickly, but be careful not to overwhelm the sauce or it may separate.
Now add the rest of the lemon juice and mustard, and the salt and pepper. Taste and reseason if necessary. If you’d like a stiffer sauce, add 2-4 tablespoons more oil.
This recipe makes about 1 cup of mayonnaise. If you don’t need it all right away, place what’s left in a clean jar, cover tightly and refrigerate. It will keep for about a week.
What to do if your mayonnaise curdles and won’t emulsify? This happens to everyone on occasion, and there’s a trick for fixing the problem. Place a teaspoon of very hot water in a clean bowl and begin adding the curdled mayonnaise teaspoonful by teaspoonful, stirring constantly. Once the sauce has emulsified, you can add the rest of the curdled mayonnaise by the tablespoonful, as well as any remaining oil.