How to make… mayo

My mum is a stickler for mayo. The homemade kind. Had I not watched her make it so often I’d have dismissed it as a cheffy thing nobody really does. We tend to overthink it. We hear the word emulsify and turn immediately for the Hellman’s, but this is a mistake. The ease and time it takes to make mayo is about as comparable as toasting a piece of bread. By which point, slather said mayo onto said toast and eat it standing, while waiting for the next. Hellman’s has nothing to do with the real thing.

Leftover roast chicken with a dollop of mayo is a genius combination, as is a mayo and egg sandwich. As is mayo in just about any sandwich. Toss it through grated celeriac or finely sliced cabbage, or any grated root vegetable that needs using and you have yourself a very good slaw. Mayo is the ultimate leftover pick-me-up. I just ate it spread onto a cracker with pickled onion piled on top (as per below). So good.

To make it you need: an egg yolk, Dijon mustard, salt, oil and acid. There is some debate as to what oil you should use; keep it flavourless or use a mix of a little extra virgin olive oil with a lot of sunflower oil, some like rapeseed oil, some (like my mum) use only light olive oil. Hers is a deep, rich mayo. I love it, but it’s perhaps too much if you’re not used to it.

Add 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard [notes: “the same amount of Dijon as egg yolk” says mum] and a little less than 1 teaspoon of salt to a bowl. Add a splash of white wine vinegar or lemon juice to brighten it up, although mum will claim hers is bright enough already and doesn’t need it. Whisk well to combine.

Gradually add small splashes of oil, whisking continuously with either a traditional or electric whisk. You should add only very small amounts to start with, whisking continuously between each addition. It’ll start to emulsify and thicken into a lovely smooth mixture.

Continue whisking, adding larger amounts of oil as you go. You’ll see it thicken. Keep going, adding more oil until it’s the consistency you want. If it curdles, place a teaspoon of mustard or a beaten egg yolk or a little vinegar into a clean bowl, then beat in the curdled mixture a little at a time. That should do it.

And there you have it. Thick delicious yellow mayo. Nothing like the shop-bought stuff, cheaper to make and a whole lot tastier.

Leftover egg whites?
Store in the freezer for up to a few months. Or save in the fridge (a couple of days is just fine) to beat up with more eggs into an omelette, or this potato and egg “tortilla”