Katie Stew

A rich, simmering blend of my favorite things

The Magic of Mayonnaise


I love mayonnaise. To quote an uncle of mine, “A sandwich is nothing but a vehicle to to eat mayonnaise.” Recently, I made my first mayonnaise. I have Tom Douglas to thank for it. And crab cakes.

As part of a recent obsession with crabcakes, I purchased Tom Douglas’s book, “I Love Crabcakes!”, which I highly recommend. For a number of the recipes, you bind the crab together with a homemade mayonnaise. It is also necessary for making his “Very Good Tartar Sauce”. He explains it simply and all the recipes from that book that I have tried have been wonderful. More on that another time.

The idea of making your own mayonnaise is an intimidating one. It sounds hard and time consuming. I was always a little afraid and impressed by the task. It just seemed so daunting.

Boy was I wrong.

Making your own mayonnaise is terribly simple and totally awesome.

I am currently reading “The Pat Conroy Cookbook- Recipes and Stories of My Life”. I will write a full review when I finish, but about 2 weeks ago, when I was just flipping through, I found the most wonderful paragraph. Emboldened by my recent entry into the world of mayonnaise via Tom Douglas, I decided to give this a go.

Homemade Mayonnaise       Let us now praise homemade mayonnaise. In her cooking class, Nathalie Dupree once made all her students make it by hand, ensuring that all of us would honor the labors of French housewives for the rest of our days. But the invention of the blender and the food processor has turned the making of mayonnaise into a matter of seconds. Here is how to do it: Drop an egg into your machine. Turn it on. Beat that sucker for five seconds. Have some vegetable or canola oil ready. Pour it in a slow stream through the feed tube. Soon, chemistry happens and magic occurs before your eyes as the egg and oil unite into something glorious. When the mixture is thick, cut the machine off. Add the juice of half a lemon or two shots of red wine vinegar. That’s mayonnaise. Add a clove of garlic to it. Turn on the machine until the garlic is blended. That’s aioli. Try adding some fresh herbs, and you’ve got herb mayonnaise. Add one-fourth cup Parmesan cheese and a couple of pinches of cayenne, and you have the fanciest, best-tasting salad dressing you’ve ever had.    –Makes about 1 cup

I couldn’t believe it! It couldn’t be that easy could it? I read this paragraph and immediately had to try it out. I got all the ingredients ready in my kitchen, got my blender out, and followed the instructions. It was like magic. A simple egg and some oil melded into this beautiful creamy creation. I added in all the other things as suggested. I felt like an alchemist. It was terribly exciting. And you know what? When I finished mixing in the cheese and cayenne, he was right! It was some pretty darn fancy salad dressing. I added some salt and pepper and served it up.

My only tip on this would be that a little fresh garlic goes a long way. I love garlic, so in my first experiment I added 2 cloves to this concoction. It made for a very spicy and serious dressing. I liked it, but it was pretty intense.

I think everyone should give it a try. Make a little magic. Make a little mayonnaise.


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