My Book Club had a discussion once about products not worth making from scratch. One member’s biggest was hummus. She and a bunch of her co-workers tasted many store-bought and homemade versions; her take was that store-bought was just as good, if not better, than homemade. I love to make hummus from scratch, but my issue is that I never get it exactly the same each time (I add extra garlic, or lemon, or red pepper flake; I could go on).
I love kitchen hacks. When my culinary school chefs teach us little shortcuts I get really excited and love to share the information with other foodie friends. When I saw this 20-second mayonnaise in an issue of Saveur (possibly December of 2015), I tore it out. I finally decided to try it because I was making potato salad and needed mayo. Not that I didn’t have mayo in the house, but this looked like fun.
Matthew Rudofker, executive chef of Momofuku Ssäm Bar, has a fun way of making mayonnaise in a jiffy. This recipe first appeared in our 2015 SAVEUR 100.
MAKES 2 1/2 CUPS
1 1⁄2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1⁄2 tsp. salt
2 cups canola oil
Place white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, egg, and canola oil in a tall, slender container. Lower an immersion blender into the container so that it sits at the bottom. Purée 3 seconds and slowly pull blender up, swirling and incorporating the oil, until emulsified, 17 seconds. Chill up to 1 month.
I started with a mason jar big enough to hold all of the oil. Then, I brilliantly realized my immersion blender was too big to go into the narrow mouth of the jar. Seriously? So I poured everything into a tall cup left from our 7-11 soda drinking days. I followed the directions exactly, and the ingredients at the bottom immediately began to look like mayonnaise. But the large quantity of oil just wouldn’t incorporate. I was devastated.
I went searching online for DIY mayo recipes and videos, finding one that made me fall in love with Jacques Pépin. The common denominator– everyone was using egg yolks, not whole eggs (as well as hand whisking), and the amount of oil was maaaaaaybe a 1/2 cup to three egg yolks.
Okay, don’t panic. I went back to the liquidy mess and added another yolk (we happened to have one left from the egg white wash from our latest pie). The mayo became creamier and more mayo-like in color, so I added another. And another. With each additional egg yolk the substance became closer to mayo– it smells like mayo, and even tastes like mayo. But it never came to a firm consistency, and I kind of want to stop throwing eggs in it, because what if it never does? I can’t waste a dozen eggs trying to fix this thing.
I can still use it as a salad dressing base (the recipe says it will keep up to a month), and I may toss some in the potato salad anyway (the base for the salad also includes sour cream and Greek yogurt, blog coming soon). So here’s to a product that may not be worth trying to make yourself. Verdict: likely never again, until I’m in some class at school where I’m forced to make it classically. Moral of the story: Maybe shortcuts aren’t always the answer.