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Assorted Mayonnaises

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0
 

Recipe

Most of us associate mayonnaise with the stuff in a jar or, if we’re fortunate, an aioli sauce with plenty of garlic. It turns out, however, that mayonnaise is an infinitely versatile sauce that can be flavored with just about anything. The base for all these variations, however, is almost always the same, so once you make a batch of basic unflavored mayonnaise, you can divide it into however many parts you like and flavor the parts. Basic mayonnaise can be made by hand—by slowly working oil into egg yolks—in a blender, or in a food processor. There are a couple of things to look out for. Mayonnaise gets thicker as you add more oil, but if it gets too thick it can separate. So whatever recipe you’re making, add ½ teaspoon of water to the mayonnaise if it starts to get too thick. Don’t add too much water—it takes very little to thin the mayonnaise and keep it from breaking. When you start making the mayonnaise, the oil has to added slowly—in a very thin stream for a food processor or blender and 1 teaspoon at a time when working by hand. Mayonnaise such as aioli, made with extra virgin olive oil, should not be beaten hard by hand, in a blender, or in a food processor—for some reason the violent action makes it bitter. It’s better to make a basic mayonnaise with vegetable oil and then gently stir in extra virgin olive oil by hand. While mayonnaise is rich—the mayonnaise itself is almost pure oil—it is considerably lighter when combined with vegetables, which convert it into something between a mayonnaise and a salsa.

Yield: 2½ cups

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup “pure” olive oil or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons water

Directions

Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, and salt in a food processor or blender. Turn the machine on and start by adding the oil very slowly, in a thin stream, and then gradually increasing the amount you add. When you’ve added all the “pure” oil and the mayonnaise starts to thicken, transfer the mayonnaise to a bowl and gently work in the extra virgin olive oil using a wooden spoon. As the mayonnaise gets very thick, add water as needed. Add more salt if needed.

VARIATIONS:

RED BELL PEPPER MAYONNAISE

Yield: 1¾ cups

4 red bell peppers, charred, peeled, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine

1 cup Basic Mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the peppers with the Basic Mayonnaise and season to taste with salt and pepper.

MUSHROOM MAYONNAISE

Yield: 2 cups

1 pound mushrooms of any variety

1 cup Basic Mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste

Clean the mushrooms and chop by hand or in a food processor until fairly fine. Be careful if you’re using a food processor to avoid making a purée; about 10 short pulses should do it. Put the mushrooms in a small pot over medium heat. When they’ve released their water, after 1 to 2 minutes, turn the heat up to high and boil, stirring now and then, until the mixture is dry, about 10 minutes. Let cool and fold into the Basic Mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

MOREL MAYONNAISE

Yield: 1½ cups

Regular mushroom mayonnaise is great but dried morels give this mayonnaise a distinctive smoky flavor.

1 ounce dried morels, soaked in ½ cup water for 30 minutes and moved around every 5 minutes

1 cup Basic Mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste

Drain the morels into a bowl, squeezing any additional liquid out of them; note that you can save the liquid for sauces, but don’t add it to the mayonnaise unless you want it to be thin. Chop the morels fine by hand or in a food processor—avoid over processing and turning them into a paste—and stir them into the Basic Mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

CAPER AND HERB MAYONNAISE

Yield: 1¾ cups

1 cup Basic Mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

4 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped coarse leaves from 15 sprigs fresh tarragon, chopped

1 small bunch parsley, large stems removed, leaves and small stems chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Combine the Basic Mayonnaise with the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

HAZELNUT MAYONNAISE

Yield: 1¼ cups

This mayonnaise catches people by surprise because it’s redolent of hazelnuts but there are no hazelnuts in it. Only a small amount of hazelnut oil is worked into a basic mayonnaise. It’s important to use a hazelnut oil that’s been made with roasted nuts—it will have much more flavor and be far less perishable. As of now there is only one producer—Le Blanc—who makes his oil this way. It’s expensive, too, so unless you use a lot of it, buy the smallest amount possible and keep it in the freezer.

¼ cup hazelnut oil made from roasted nuts (Le Blanc is a good brand)

1 cup Basic Mayonnaise

salt and pepper to taste

Mix the oil, a few teaspoons at a time, into the Basic Mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

CURRY MAYONNAISE

Yield: 1 cup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or more as needed)

1 tablespoon curry powder (or more as needed)

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped fine (optional)

1 cup Basic Mayonnaise

Heat the oil and curry powder in a small pan over medium heat while stirring until you smell the curry, about 1 minute. Stir this mixture into the Basic Mayonnaise. Taste to judge if the amount of curry is enough; if not, heat some more and add it to the mayonnaise. If the mayonnaise starts to get too thick (which can cause it to break) thin it with a teaspoon or two of water. Stir in the cilantro.

SAFRRON AIOLI

Yield: 2½ cups

4 egg yolks

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon saffron threads soaked in

3 tablespoons water for 30 minutes

3 medium cloves garlic, chopped and crushed with the side of a chef’s knife

1 cup “pure” olive oil or vegetable oil

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, and teaspoon of salt. Add the saffron with its soaking liquid and beat in the garlic and “pure” olive oil with a whisk. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor.) Start by adding the oil very slowly and then gradually increase the amount you add at one time. When you’ve added all the “pure” oil, and the mayonnaise starts to thicken, transfer the mayonnaise to a mixing bowl (if you were using a food processor) and gently work in the extra virgin olive oil using a wooden spoon. Add more salt if needed.

TIPS FOR MAKING AIOLI:

Aioli is garlic mayonnaise traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, but most versions now are made in a blender, food processor, or by hand with a whisk. The problem with any method but the mortar and pestle is that the hard beating action turns the extra virgin olive oil bitter. One solution is to work the oil very gently into the egg yolks with a wooden spoon, but this is tedious since the oil has to be added very slowly. Another solution is to make a mayonnaise with “pure” olive oil—which is essentially flavorless and doesn’t turn bitter when beaten—using a hand whisk. Once the mayonnaise has established itself, and you can add the oil more quickly, switch to a wooden spoon to gently work in the extra virgin olive oil.

Notes

“Fixing” Bottled Mayonnaise

Most people recognize that bottled mayonnaise has none of the same flavor as homemade. Homemade mayonnaise can be a little tricky though, especially at the beginning when it’s necessary to add the oil very slowly to keep the mixture from breaking. A good trick is to work a little extra virgin olive oil into bottled mayonnaise—thinning the mayonnaise if it gets too stiff with a little water, lemon juice, or vinegar.


© 2007 James Peterson
 

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 40 servings and does not include the variations.

76kcal (4%)
32mg (1%)
0g
0g
9g (13%)
0g
1g (4%)
6g
1g
10mg (3%)
0g
0g
0mg
2mg
3mcg RAE (0%)
0mg (0%)
1mg (0%)
0mg (0%)
 

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