As promised, we’re moving from philosophical to hands-on practical around here. Today’s tip is a fantastically easy way to save a broken mayonnaise.
Don’t know what that is? Well then, skip to the bottom of the post and let’s get you making some mayonnaise!
If you do have experience in making mayo at home (or aioli, which is marvelous and the main reason I make mayonnaise instead of buying it), you have likely found that many recipes “break.” I don’t know why exactly breaking happens, but it’s maddening and until last night, I’d never been able to save a mayo that had done this.
Broken mayo is essentially just mayo that won’t hold together; it’s thin, oily, looks disgusting and doesn’t taste very good. I’ve had this happen many times before, especially when I’ve tried to make it in the blender. Just never works.
Last night was no exception. I was trying to make a quick aioli (which is just garlic-infused mayo – yummy!) for something I was eating and thought I’d save some dishes by doing it in the blender. Forty-five minutes, three egg yolk additions and a messing up of not only the blender but the food processor later, I still had broken sauce.
I went to my trusty “The Way To Cook” by Julia Child and saw that she did indeed have a trick for saving mayo; just take about a tablespoon of mustard (prepared, not dry) and put it in a bowl. Take your hand whisk and start to beat the broken mayo into the mustard. Do this very slowly at first, making sure the mustard stays thick, like you do if you’re emulsifying a salad dressing. Keep adding the broken mayo into the new emulsion in a slow thin stream and eventually, you will incorporate all the broken sauce into a lovely new sauce. Yay!
Surprisingly, the sauce doesn’t taste overwhelmingly of mustard. And I didn’t have to throw out my broken mayo and start again. Or give up on aioli with my dinner.
Hope that’s helpful!
How to make homemade mayonnaise
Homemade mayo is very nice and not too hard to make. We do buy quite a bit of mayo from the store, but that’s mostly because it keeps forever (I think maybe literally – I have yet to throw out a rotten jar). The homemade stuff is better, so if you’re making something special, or if you have a lot of mayo eaters on your hands, consider giving this a try:
2 egg yolks, room temp (use fresh eggs – they will be raw and you don’t want to make yourself sick with rotten raw eggs)
1 whole egg (see above)
1 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice (you might need a bit more)
1 TSP dijon mustard
1/2 TSP salt
Pinch of pepper (if you’re all pretty about it, use white. I use black and no problems)
1 1/2 – 2 cups oil – use canola, vegetable or a combo of these with some oil oil – if you use all extra virgin olive oil, it’ll taste like that instead of mayo – and be a waste of really good oil!
Combine yolks, whole egg, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper in a food processor fitted with the plastic blade (didn’t know that thing had a use? Me neither!). Process for about 10 seconds until it’s creamy. Turn motor on and leave running (you might want to suggest your spouse try watching TV or listening to his podcasts in the other room – you’re going to have this on for a while). Pour oil in very slowly – like drops at a time. Keep the motor on the whole time, but let the stuff process for a bit in between additions of oil (15-30 seconds). When you can see that your mayo is thickening up, you can start to add the oil in a very thin stream, but stop adding oil every so often to make sure it incorporates. Finish adding all the oil like this. If it’s way too thick, add a little more lemon juice. If it never thickens and just stays a runny oily mess, try saving it using the technique described above!
You can use the mayo immediately, or store it covered in the fridge for about a week. If you need to keep it around longer than that, buy the stuff at the store. About 2 cups.