Homemade Mayonnaise: A Toast to the Salad Days of Summer


Aaaaaaagh!  Summer is nearly over. But Labor Day picnics, the swan song of summer, will soon be here. What better way to celebrate the transition to fall than creamy, satisfying potato and pasta salads to complement the hot stuff coming off the grill? How to make those salads amazing, surprising, (and satisfying)? Use real homemade mayonnaise–the foundation off all things French–and make it yourself wherever you may be.

I admit I am intimidated by the thought. But Mary Pochez, my friend and proprietress of La Vie du Chateau culinary vacations, swears by it and won’t look at anything in a jar. She is sharing her recipe with NoNoJulia readers. Of course Mary, living in the country, uses nothing but the freshest eggs and, I assume, sea salt from the Guerande. Those of us with farmers markets can find almost fresh eggs, but the salt might take more exploration. In any case, I wash eggs before using them to minimize the risk of bacteria or other GI-tract offenders making their way to the yolk.

Mary uses a hand-held mixer (sometimes only with one beater if she can’t find the other), but mayo can also be made in the food processor or with an immersion blender. It is important to use an oil with a neutral taste; much as I like to put extra-virgin olive oil in everything this is one place where it will detract from, not add to, the flavor.  And of course, mustard from Dijon is a must.

As a tribute to summer—and to Mary—I plan to make mayonnaise for the first time this weekend, add it to some combination of potatoes and vegetables, scarf down a few hot dogs, and toast the end of a beautiful summer.

Mary’s Homemade Mayonnaise


1 egg yolk

1 heaping t. of Dijon mustard

Sunflower, safflower or canola oil (olive oil tastes too strong)

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

1 T. sherry vinegar (or other)

1 t. lemon juice (optional)


  1. Put egg yolk and mustard together in a bowl and mix with beaters on low-medium speed for a minute or so. Very slowly add oil, while mixing all the time. The important thing is to add the oil slowly so that it starts to “take” (thicken). If you add too much, too fast, it will never thicken. But once it does start to thicken, you can add the oil faster.
  2. Once the bowl fills and it starts to get very thick and a little lumpy, stop mixing, add salt, pepper, vinegar and a little lemon juice (I only add lemon if I will be serving with fish or seafood). Then mix just enough to blend ingredients.

Mary adds, “I serve this with cold seafood (crab, sea snails, shrimp), with any other cold left over meats (chicken, roast beef, fish), on hard boiled eggs (cut in half) and sprinkled with curry or paprika or whatever.

“If you cover mayonnaise with plastic wrap so that no oxygen is in contact with the top surface of the mayonnaise, you can keep it for several days.

“I’m pretty sure that once you master this very easy mayonnaise, you will have a hard time going back to the very yukky and totally unhealthy store bought stuff that’s full of preservatives. I’ve found it absolutely impossible!”

Photo credit: http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/10/the-food-lab-homemade-mayo-in-2-minutes-or-le.html


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