You know what’s both harder and easier than you would think? Mayonnaise.
It’s hard to get really good mayo. It’s also really hard to find mayo with an ingredient list that doesn’t turn you right off the idea the second you look at it. But mayonnaise tastes so good that the thought of totally giving it up isn’t appealing, either. Some people switch to Miracle Whip (with an even worse ingredient list), and some switch to olive oil mayo (still contains the other bad oils).
Some intrepid souls make their own. Despite its reputation, mayonnaise is deceptively easy to make if you can be precise about following directions. I am the first to admit that I cut corners when following recipe instructions, but not here — here, I respect the mayo.
Mayonnaise is simply oil whisked very fast into a mixture of eggs, mustard, salt and an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar. When done right, you end up with an emulsion that is nothing short of magic — when done wrong, you get scrambled eggs in oil. The key is drizzling the oil as slowly as you can into the egg mixture, only pouring faster when the emulsion has basically already formed.
The New York Times recently printed what they say is the most reliable mayo recipe out there. In addition to the ingredients listed above, it includes cold water, meant to help everything blend better.
I’ve used this mayonnaise in Paleo chicken salad, on chicken just for fun, and in a homemade (non-Paleo, obviously) pasta salad. It’s amazing any way you want it — even, if you eat grain, on a perfect turkey sandwich. Stir in a little Sriracha or cranberry sauce for a flavor burst.
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp prepared or Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp cold water
- 1 1/2 cups avocado, light olive or grapeseed oil
- Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together yolks, lemon juice, mustard, salt and water until well blended.
- Slooooooooowly, with the speed of a stoned snail, dribble the oil into the egg mixture while the whisk is going at full speed, pouring the oil down the side of the bowl to slow its progress.
- When you’re about halfway through the oil, feel free to pour a little faster, but still go pretty slowly. Continue until all the oil is whisked in. Store in the fridge for up to a week.