Mayo has its detractors, and I count some close friends among them (if a tad begrudgingly). Where store-bought mayo is concerned, the naysayers have a point. Most supermarket brands, while acceptably tasty, are made with soybean oil. Soybean oil is a great choice if your lifelong dream is to directly modify your own genes but you don’t have the money for a fancy procedure. (Oh, stop, I know.) Then there’s the purportedly virtuous canola mayo, which is typically just as processed as soybean oil and has the additional benefit of tasting like an inexplicably sweetened and especially vivid childhood nightmare. Why oh WHY is it sweet?
Homemade mayonnaise, though, is a different thing entirely. (And thank god for that, am I right?) There’s no question that homemade mayo tastes worlds better than the store-bought stuff. But historically, the problem with homemade mayo has been the emulsification process, which requires tedious attention to the snail-paced dribbling of oil into a bowl of egg yolk, acid, and seasonings while whisking as if your life depended on it. That process requires three arms and a steely mental prowess, making it appropriate for only a small fraction of home cooks.
About six months ago, Mark Bittman forever altered my home mayonization process. Have you ever noticed that tiny hole in the bottom of your food processor’s plunger-thingy? If that ain’t for dribbling oil while the blade attachment plays the part of your whisking arm, I don’t know what is. Give this recipe a try. You’ll end up with the best-tasting mayo you’ve ever had — and you’ll need it for the deviled egg recipe coming later this week.
I first learned about using the food processor to make homemade mayonnaise from Mark Bittman. It is hard to overstate the genius of this method. It’s even harder to remember a time when I didn’t know how to do it. Makes about one cup of mayonnaise.
One egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup mild-tasting olive oil
1. Into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, place the egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
2. Measure the oil into a liquid measuring cup with a spout. Turn on the food processor. Pour about half of the oil into the white plunger in the feed tube (see photo 3). The tiny hole at the bottom of the plunger will dribble the oil into the bowl of the processor, allowing the mayo to emulsify. When the oil level in the plunger gets low, pour in the remaining oil. The whole process should take about two to three minutes. When all the oil has dribbled into the bowl, stop the processor. Stir with a rubber spatula to incorporate any last bits of oil. Taste mayo for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or lemon juice to taste. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.