Thursday, February 24, 2011

Olive Oil Mayonnaise

As you may know, we've been keeping track of our plastic garbage as part of the Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash Challenge. This week, we ran out of mayo. And on Wednesday, we had planned to have Fish & Chips. Tartar sauce requires mayo. Not wanting to buy another plastic bottle, I visited all kinds of places searching for mayo in a glass jar. Our two major grocery stores only stocked mayo in plastic, with the exception of the natural foods aisle. The "natural" mayo's at the health food store were either soy or canola based, which we're not terribly keen on. Even though this led me to read the back of our existing mayo container to learn that it too was canola based. In the end, we have no mayo. But, the fish is defrosting & dinner must go on! So what's a girl to do?

Make mayo.  

You'll need:
1 egg yolk (or more depending on how big a batch you need- 4 yolks makes about a quart of mayo)
oil of choice (I used olive)
vinegar or lemon juice (only a drop or two)
whisk or mixer (mixer highly recommended, as your arm will likely fall off whisking this much)

One yolk, in the mixer. Right off the bat, I want you to notice how orange our egg yolk is (you can read more about that here). This is a contributing factor in our final product NOT being fluffy white in the end (plus the fact that we used olive oil).

The gist of it is that you're going to slowly add the oil into the mixer. And I do mean slowly. Start with a drop at a time. I'm not kidding. If you add too much at a time it wont turn out. You're going to need to exercise some patience on this one. Add in a drop or two of white vinegar or lemon juice to help stabilize your concoction. Wait until each addition is completely incorporated before you add any more. Whisk as fast as your arm (or your mixer) can.

Still just a drop at a time... patience my dear. It'll be worth it! If things are starting to look a little dry, you can add A drop more of vinegar or lemon juice. Trust me, one drop makes a big difference. Continue on slowly adding in your oil. Once it's started to look creamy you can add a teensy bit more at a time, but still take it slow. After all this work, you don't want to wreck it now! Expect that this whole adding the oil part will take you ten minutes or so.

Aim to add no more than a cup of oil per yolk. Any more and you're going to have a mess on your hands. Season your mayo with some salt, maybe pepper and a splash of lemon juice to taste. Or if you're making tartar sauce, you can find the details on how to make that here

We found that one yolk made just about enough tartar sauce for the two of us. But I do this repulsive thing where I mix my tartar sauce up with ketchup for my fish, so any normal human being may need to make more tartar sauce than we did. It'll only last for a few days in the fridge, so don't bother making more than you're going to actually use.

Much thanks to this site for teaching me how to make mayo! We may very well never go back...


  1. Oh I have wanted to try this forever! I have the same problem finding mayo in glass, and the only brand that's reliably available is made from safflower oil... since I'm deathly allergic to safflower seeds, this seems like a bad idea.

    But here's the thing... aren't you afraid of salmonela with the raw egg yolk?

  2. The "tutorial" I based this mayo off of did provide a disclaimer regarding this very topic. They suggested using pasteurized eggs, actually. Personally, I consume eggs as underdone as possible. My sunny side up's are only in the pan long enough to get the whites set. Sometimes not even. Considering that we used all of this mayo up right away & it wasn't sitting around in the fridge forever, I'm not terribly concerned. It's been close to 24 hours since consumption now, so if I had contracted anything this time around, I would likely know about it. I don't think that I am educated enough (it's been a few years since my last food safe certification...) on the details of food poisoning to say "go ahead!", but in the context of our meal last night I don't think there was any risk. Valid point though!