This cold dressing made with emulsified oil is one of the best-known sauces in French cooking! Still, when it comes to whipping some up to go with boiled eggs, crudités or cold fish for example, it pays to know what you're doing…
Tip no. 1: Don't rush it
To achieve the emulsion required for a firm, silky sauce, you need to start with the ingredients at room temperature: an egg yolk with a few drops of lemon or vinegar and a pinch of salt added, and perhaps half a teaspoon of mustard. Then, it is worth taking your time to add the oil gradually in a thin stream, whisking as you go (2/3 cup to a cup, depending on the quantity of mayonnaise you need).
Tip no. 2: Don't give up
If the mayonnaise breaks, that is if the fats separate from the proteins, all is not lost. The simplest way to rescue it is to start again in another bowl with new egg yolk, gradually adding the "broken" sauce and whisking to incorporate it, just as you would the oil.
Tip no. 3: Mix it up!
First, grate one or more cloves of garlic into the egg. Then, use two-thirds olive oil and one-third oil with a neutral taste (sunflower, groundnut, grape seed...). And there you have it: aioli, which is perfect with cold poached egg, blanched cauliflower florets, mussels... For a delicious accompaniment to a fish soup, make a rouille by adding a roasted bell pepper puree and a good pinch of chili to a classic mayonnaise. Need a tartar sauce for fried fish or a grilled beef rib? Just add 5 or 6 pickles and a bunch of herbs (parsley, chives, and tarragon), finely chopped, to your mayo!