One Cup of Mayo, and Hold the Preservatives!

Whip up this tasty, fast, easy mayonnaise recipe once, and you may never go back to store-bought.

The first time I realized that mayonnaise could be made at home I was reading Chapter I, De Gustibus (regarding taste) in Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook. His recipe called for an egg yolk, salt, freshly ground pepper, Dijon mustard, vinegar or lemon juice, one cup of peanut oil and a whisk. I tried it and to my amazement, it worked! The chemistry in forming this emulsion is visually fascinating. But what a lot of effort. I was happy enough with my jar of Hellmann’s. It would be 27 years before I’d have another go at the homemade version.

In fact it was Barbra who encouraged me to revisit mayonnaise. Taking up her challenge, I made a cup of it, this time in a blender. Better than getting mayonnaise elbow with a whisk, but still… the old-school blender I used was a bother to clean. So the next time we needed mayonnaise, we went to Point Hope’s Native Store. $$$ for a six-ounce jar.

That was when we decided, finally, to invest in a good immersion blender – aka a stick blender. And now, I doubt we’ll ever buy a jar of mayonnaise again. The recipe below is quick, easy to clean up after, and results in a tasty, preservative-free, all-natural mayonnaise ready to be spread on a turkey sandwich, to serve as a base for anchovy-mayonnaise salad dressing, or to blend into deviled eggs.

1 cup Homemade Mayonnaise

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg, as fresh as possible
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp white vinegar (we like rice vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • healthy pinch or two (1/8 teaspoon) salt
  • dash of white pepper or freshly ground black pepper, or both
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (or other vegetable oil)

Directions:

You will need a stick blender and a fairly narrow container such as a small canning jar, one just wide enough so that the stick blender fits.

  1. Place egg in a narrow jar or other container.
  2. Add lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
  3. Add olive oil.
  4. Push stick blender to the bottom of the container. Blend on high speed. (This depends on the blender. Ours gets the job done at a lower setting.) Within seconds, mayonnaise will start to form. As soon as you see this, gradually raise the blender to create more mayonnaise. Mix through top to bottom one more time thoroughly. The entire mixing process will take about 10 seconds.

This mayonnaise will keep in your refrigerator for about two weeks. The extra virgin olive oil and the Dijon give it a distinctive taste. For mayonnaise more like commercial brands, use canola or peanut oil and half the Dijon or a milder mustard.

Pine Nut Encrusted Halibut

A fillet of Resurrection Bay, Alaska halibut in a homemade mayonnaise and sour cream mixture, encrusted with chopped pine nuts and almonds and served on a bed of mixed brown and wild rice. Broccoli is one of the few vegetables we can consistently obtain in good shape in the bush.

I was recently looking around online for the next great place to call home. A top priority for both of us is a place where we can harvest our own fish. With that in mind, as I looked at coastal waters and lakes in other states, it was with a keen eye not only toward some of our preferred fish species (walleye, crappie, perch, striped bass, salmon), but also with an eye toward each state’s fish consumption advisories.

What a shock. In locale after locale, the advice from state departments of natural resources is to limit one’s consumption of local fish. Mercury and PCBs are the chief culprits, but in some places there are other chemicals in the stew. Even DDT remains a problem in some areas. The prospect of living in a place where warnings are to limit one’s consumption of fish to one meal a week–or a couple meals a month–is depressing. (We really hope they keep the Pebble Mine out of Alaska!)

Glad to live in a part of the world where the near-shore fish are still healthful enough to enjoy as often as one cares to. We generally have meals featuring salmon, rockfish or halibut two or three times a week.

There’s nothing to the above halibut dish. In a glass bowl I mixed together equal parts homemade mayonnaise and sour cream. I wanted to add a dash or two of cayenne pepper for a pleasant kick, but having none used a prepared Thai seasoning mix instead along with a couple of grinds of black pepper and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice. I spread this mixture on a halibut fillet, then covered the sauce with chopped pine nuts and almonds, and baked for 15 minutes at 375 degrees in a small, preheated casserole dish in which I had melted butter. Make sure to check while it’s baking to avoid scorching the nuts. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil if the nuts are becoming overly done.

By the way, if you’ve never made mayonnaise, it’s easy–and kind of magical. There are no shortage of instructional videos on the Internet.