How to Make Olive Oil Mayonnaise

I hate mayonnaise. I hate how it tastes. I hate how it smells.

There, I said it. So, why did I go to the trouble of making it from scratch? It was more like a means to an end. Let me back up a bit.

I really like buttermilk ranch dressing. My favorite? The little packets of seasoning that you use to make it yourself. Mmm… heaven. Until I realized those little packets are full of monosodium glutamate (MSG). No wonder it tastes like heaven.

So what does this have to do with mayonnaise? Mayonnaise and buttermilk are key ingredients in making homemade ranch dressing. As I tested out different recipes, I substituted plain yogurt for the mayonnaise, but it never tasted right to me. Mayonnaise was the missing ingredient. Bummer. But because I had gone to great lengths to avoid the “MSG packets” as my husband calls them, it would make sense to go further and avoid the nasty oils and junk in commercial mayonnaise. Even the “olive oil” types of mayonnaise still contain mostly soybean oil.

Oh, it goes one more step, folks.

Mayonnaise is basically an emulsion of egg yolks and oil (with seasonings). Making mayonnaise from scratch means eating raw egg yolks, so using high-quality free-range eggs is important. (“cage-free” is not the same thing as “free-range”)

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When we moved to Reno, I searched on Craigslist to see if anyone was selling eggs from chickens they raised in their own backyard. (You probably think I’m completely nuts. Or a complete hippie.) I found a woman who lives a mile and a half from me who sells me the eggs from her “girls”. (The eggs in the photo above… aren’t they pretty? And yes, that one in the middle is light green. I had no idea eggs came in light green.)

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When you get fresh eggs, they come in all different sizes and a few different colors. The color of the egg has to do with the breed of chicken. Brown eggs aren’t any more nutritious or better tasting than white eggs, despite how “fancy” they look in the grocery store.

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You’ll also notice that the yolks from fresh may be darker. Fresh eggs taste better, too. I won’t go into the nutritional differences between fresh and commercial eggs. Let’s just say that whatever you put into the chicken is what comes out in the egg. Feed the chickens a healthy diet (what they’re genetically designed to eat) and you get healthy chickens (and healthy eggs). Feed the chickens garbage and. . . well, you can figure out the rest. The same principle is true with animals. And humans.

K, back to the mayonnaise. Using an immersion blender make this a piece of cake, but you can also use a blender. (You might end up with more mayo stuck inside the blender, though.)

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Put all the ingredients except for the oil into a bowl or a large plastic cup. Buzz it for a minute or so until it gets creamy, then gradually add the oil in a small drizzle while blending.

Keep blending. And blending. And blending. When you wonder why it’s not getting thick, you suddenly realize you put in the whole eggs instead of just the yolks. Hold back a curse word (because your 3-year-old is sitting next to you), dump the mixture down the sink, and start over.

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New bowl. New ingredients. See what a lovely yellow that is? I swear I didn’t mess with the color saturation. It’s really that bright. (Thank you, fresh egg yolks!) When you drizzle in the oil and blend it for a minute or two . . .

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it gets thick! It’s not as thick as regular mayonnaise yet (it will thicken after it sits in the fridge), but you can go ahead and use it. Because you used olive oil, it’s going to taste like olive oil. (Huh. Imagine that.) You can tamper with the seasonings, adding salt or more vinegar if you like it more tangy. (I do.)

Keep it in an airtight jar in the fridge and it will keep for two weeks. Next time I’ll have a recipe for buttermilk ranch dressing that will be almost as yellow as this lovely mayo.

P.S. I still don’t like mayonnaise, but it sure makes buttermilk dressing taste good. :)

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Homemade Olive Oil Mayonnaise

Yield: about 1 cup

Ingredients:

2-4 egg yolks (fresh, free-range eggs if possible)
1/2 tsp mustard
2 T lemon juice
1 1/2 T vinegar (I like balsamic)
3/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (grapeseed would be good neutral-flavored oil to use if you don’t like olive)

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl (or a large plastic cup) combine all the ingredients except for the oil. Insert immersion blender and give it a quick buzz until it’s creamy. Still continue to blend as you add the oil in a slow drizzle. The mixture should thicken after a minute or two. If you’re using a cup, use up and down motions to bring the emulsion together.

Adjust seasonings if necessary and store in an air-tight container for 2 weeks.

adapted from The Nourishing Gourmet