Mayonnaise is one of the easiest condiments to make at home – and, it’s much tastier than store bought varieties. The etymology of the name has four possible origins: some attribute it to the Duke of Richelieu when he captured Port Mahon on the island of Minorca, Spain in 1756, naming it mahonnaise, others claim that it was a specialty from the town of Bayonne, first known as bayonnaise. Antonin Carême however claims that it comes from the French verb manier (to stir), because this is, after all, a sauce that requires gentle stirring without the application of heat, and, finally, Prosper Montagné, the French chef and original author of Larousse Gastronomique, claims that it is a bastardisation of the word moyeau (egg yolk), for its base ingredient. It is perhaps not so surprising that there are a number of stories regarding its origin as this stable emulsion of egg yolk, vinegar and oil can be customised for a variety of preparations. By adding different herbs and spices, i.e. lemon and tarragon for a dipping sauce with carciofi alla guidia, mixed with chicken or tuna for sandwiches, chives and cumin with boiled egg as an addition to a salad, or, garlic and paprika with oven-roasted potatoes or pommes frites, you can create many from this simple staple – this is certainly one to add to your repertoire.
1 egg yolk
1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)
pinch of salt, pepper
dash of red wine vinegar
squeeze of lemon juice
- Either whisk by hand or use a hand blender to beat the egg yolk, mustard and salt together.
- Add a drizzle of olive oil and whisk again to stabilise. Add a splash of red wine vinegar (the mayo will change colour slightly – a bit more white but still yellow).
- Gradually add olive oil in a steady drizzle while whisking until you have the desired amount- 1 egg yolk can hold 85% fat – so, a lot of olive oil! The consistency should be thick and creamy.
- Season with salt and pepper, add herbs or spices as desired.