I never thought something like mayonnaise could make me so happy. I don’t eat a lot of it. Mostly on tuna sandwiches and BLT’s, but that’s the extent of my bonding with this condiment. That is, until I discovered the miracle of mayonnaise.
Thanks to movies like Food, Inc., my instincts, and a slew of news articles, I've started paying closer attention to food labels on the few products I buy in a box or a jar. If an ingredient doesn't sound natural, it probably isn't. Let's not spend too much time dwelling on this. The good news is that you can make mayonnaise yourself, with only four pure ingredients. Plus, the food processor does everything for you, slowly emulsifying the eggs so they can absorb the oil, and in less than three minutes you’ll have made a silky, healthier version of a familiar condiment.
Julia Child has devoted several pages of her cookbook to mayonnaise, and I deeply appreciate her attention to detail. Using egg whites, she painstakingly discovered the best method for whisking (warming up the bowl beforehand) and the amount of oil each egg is able to absorb. Thomas Keller, on the other hand, uses egg yolks, and the assistance of the modern-day food processor. If you don't have a food processer, you can use a blender, just be sure to add the oil very slowly, otherwise the eggs won't absorb it properly.
Homemade mayonnaise is easier to make than you might think, and I bet you have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now. If your family eats a lot of sandwiches, this is great to make on the weekend to use for lunches during the week. To help preserve it in the fridge, lightly press plastic wrap on top of the mayonnaise before closing the container lid.
2 large eggs
2 cups canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Fresh lemon juice (about ½ a lemon, but taste as you go to develop your own preference)
Put the eggs in a food processor and process for ten seconds to combine. With the motor running, begin adding the oil very, very slowly through the tube to control the stream (this will allow the oil to be absorbed by the eggs and emulsify). Continue adding the oil until all of it has been processed and the mayonnaise is thickened and pale. Add the lemon juice and salt, and blend to combine. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then refrigerate in a covered container for up to 1 week.
Makes about 2 cups.