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Creamy Mayonnaise

Yield: Yields about 1-1/4 cups.

Distinct from and immeasurably superior to bottled mayonnaise, the creamy, rich character comes from an emulsion of oil, egg, and lemon juice. Dollop onto grilled seafood or chicken; nap over room temperature boiled shrimp or lobster; dress composed salads of tuna, chicken, egg, ham, or potato; use as a dipping sauce for fried seafood or crudités; stir into warm brothy soups, especially fish-based; spread onto croutons and sandwiches.


  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice or white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper


  • Whisk the yolks, lemon juice, and mustard together until frothy. Slowly whisk in the oil, a drop at a time, until the sauce begins to emulsify. Add the remaining oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Aïoli: Smash and mince 3 to 4 cloves garlic. Make the basic mayonnaise, adding the garlic to the yolks and lemon juice, omitting the mustard, and using olive oil.

Lemon-herb: Add 1 tsp. grated lemon zest and 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (such as dill, parsley, tarragon, chervil, or basil) to the basic recipe.

Rouille: Roast, peel, seed, and purée 1 medium red bell pepper. Whisk together with 1/2 tsp. tomato paste and 1 large clove garlic, smashed and minced. Make the basic mayonnaise using olive oil and omitting the mustard. Whisk in the bell pepper and tomato mixture and season with 1/4 tsp. hot sauce, or more to taste.

Curry: Heat 1 Tbs. curry powder in 1 Tbs. vegetable oil for 1 min. and add to the basic recipe. Other spice blends, such as chili powder or garam masala, also work well.

Rémoulade-style: Make the basic recipe, increasing the mustard to 2 Tbs. and adding 2 Tbs. white-wine vinegar, 2 Tbs. tomato paste, 2 minced cloves garlic, 2 tsp. sweet paprika, and a dash hot sauce to the egg yolk and lemon juice base. Use all vegetable oil and finish by stirring in 1/4 cup each of finely chopped scallions, capers, and parsley.

Ginger-lime-cilantro: Make the basic recipe, substituting 1Tbs. lime juice for the 1 tsp. lemon juice, omitting the mustard, and using 1-1/4 cups peanut oil with 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil. Grate a 3- to 4-inch piece of peeled ginger and squeeze out about 2 Tbs. ginger juice (or use bottled). Whisk in the juice and 3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro.

Chipotle chile: Stir 1 Tbs. minced canned chipotle chile and 1 minced small clove garlic into the basic recipe. Season with black pepper in place of white. If desired, stir in 3 Tbs. chopped scallions or cilantro.


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