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Ingredient: Mayonnaise - Variations on a Recipe


Making mayonnaise
Philippe Desnerck/Photolibrary/Getty Images

We tend to think of mayonnaise as a sandwich spread, and in doing so we miss some of its best applications. Instead, think of mayonnaise as a cold hollandaise sauce and all sorts of options open up. For instance, it's great on asparagus, fish, chicken, artichokes, broccoli, and on and on.

Nothing can compare to homemade mayo and this recipe works well as a starting point. However, as a rule I prefer fresh lemon juice to vinegar because it tastes, well, fresher. And for a richer mayo, just use an egg yolk instead of a whole egg.

Don’t let the raw eggs deter you: These days you can buy pasteurized raw eggs at most grocery stores. The pasteurized eggs are absolutely safe in dishes calling for raw eggs and although they don't behave exactly like genuine raw eggs (the texture is slightly different) they're safe and perform quit well.

The drawback to homemade mayo is that it has a shelf-life of no more than a couple of weeks (using pasteurized eggs, a week with ordinary eggs) and so for us "twos" (and "ones") using it up before it goes bad can be a problem. Fortunately the variations here can also be made with commercial mayo, which has preservatives in it and so eliminates the shelf-life problem.


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 cloves garlic

Process garlic in a mini food processor or mortar and pestle to make a paste. Mix thoroughly with mayo.

Although you can use commercial mayonnaise, aioli is far better if you make the mayo yourself using olive oil and lemon juice.

Dill Mayonnaise

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. minced fresh dill
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Thoroughly mix all ingredients.

Wonderful on grilled salmon! Coat the salmon with mayo, grill it, and then serve with a dollop of mayo on top. It's also great on a ham and rye sandwich.

Roasted Garlic and Paprika Mayonnaise

Place garlic cloves, still in their skins, in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, turning cloves over frequently to avoid burning, for about 8 minutes until browned. Cool and remove skins. Process in a blender or mini food processor to a coarse paste. Thoroughly mix garlic, paprika, and mayo.

This stuff is great on a finger. Literally. I can't keep myself from dipping my finger in it and licking it off. But it's also good on asparagus or as an artichoke dip or on poached fish or chicken.

Harissa Mayonnaise

Thoroughly mix ingredients.

North Africa meets Paris: serve on grilled or broiled fish or chicken for a quick and easy exotic taste.

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