Mayonnaise may have been invented by the Spanish and popularized by the French, but Italians make maionese, too. The Italian method for homemade mayonnaise is not very different from elsewhere, but, not surprisingly, it is made either partially or entirely with olive oil (as was the original Spanish version) and is kept very basic: mustard and other flavorings are generally omitted. Armed with an immersion (or regular) blender it takes no time at all to make and, if your eggs are fresh and your oil fruity, the flavor is really out of this world.
Makes one cup of mayo
- 2 egg yolks, if making by hand; 2 yolks or 1 whole egg if making with a blender
- 1 cup (250 ml) of olive oil
- A quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice
To make by hand: Place the egg yolk, lemon juice and salt in a bowl. Whisk together until frothy. Then add the olive oil bit by bit as you continue whisking, starting very slowly, adding a few drops at a time and adding more as the oil is absorbed into the egg yolk mixture. Keep adding until you have a thick, creamy sauce.
To make with a blender: Add all the ingredients in a blender, or if using an immersion blender in its beaker. Wizz at full power until the mixture is fully emulsified.
The more oil you add, the thicker your sauce will be—so long as the egg will absorb the oil without curdling. For some uses, you will want a pourable mayo, for others you will want a rather stiff mayo. The great thing about homemade mayonnaise is, you decide the way you want it.
As mentioned, Italian mayo is simple and pure, letting the taste of its ingredients stand out. If you use really fresh, organic eggs and a really fruity extra-virign olive oil, you won’t want anything additional to sully its taste. But if you like, especially if your ingredients are not top-quality, you can add some ‘zip’ to your homemade mayonnaise by adding some finely minced garlic and/or fresh herbs for extra flavor.
If you’re worried about raw eggs, you can always ‘doctor’ store-bought mayo. Just take about what you need, then squeeze in a few drops of fresh lemon juice. Start whisking in olive oil, just as you would a homemade mayo. You’ll be surprised just how much oil the mayo will absorb! If you want an Italian-ish taste, be sure to use a brand of mayonnaise that is made without sugar like Hellman’s. Even if the result won’t compare with homemade mayonnaise, it will be passable imitation.