Perfect Mayonnaise and Three Easy Sauces
A luscious mayo with endless variations will transform your summer favorites—and it couldn’t be easier to whip up.
Summer is BLTs, grilled flank steak, fingerling potato salad, and coleslaw. Summer is tomatoes from the garden, crisp, cold lettuces, farm-stand corn on the cob. Summer is lobster rolls, green salads with herbs, grilled shrimp. I could go on and on, and there's no question I'd still miss some of your own summer favorites.
But may I make a suggestion? Try my Perfect Mayonnaise, or any of the variations you can create with it, such as Orange Mayonnaise, Green Sauce, or my Secret Ranch Dressing, for just about any summer dish you can think of. They're a snap to make, and so different from their store-bought versions. My mayonnaise has exactly half the oil, thus much less fat, than the store-bought stuff. Your summer favorites — and your waistline — will thank you. One bite, and you'll be hooked on the explosion of fresh, homemade flavor. Just remember that the consistency of my mayo is more like a sauce than a paste, and you'll be pleased every time.
I'm so jealous thinking of you grilling impeccable chicken, chopping it up, and adding Perfect Mayonnaise, basil, shallots, black pepper, and Parmesan cheese for the best chicken salad ever. With grilled pork tenderloin, a side of Orange Mayonnaise will make everyone happy! Cold grilled salmon doesn't get better than when it's served with a dollop of Green Sauce. And what's more delicious drizzled over just-picked tomatoes than my Secret Ranch Dressing? Maybe with some crumbled blue cheese?
With my mayonnaise as a base, you can create something that's singularly your own — just add your favorite spices and ingredients for all sorts of flavor combinations. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least five days. And whatever you make this summer with one of these sauces, please keep me posted by commenting below.
Happy cooking! Love, Alex.
For the PERFECT MAYONNAISE
Yield: 1 cup
3 egg yolks
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1¼ teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
¾ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup neutral vegetable oil*
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, dry mustard, salt, and black pepper.
2. Process these ingredients for approximately 2 minutes, until the yolks are thick and sticky.
3. Continue to process, adding the oil in slow streams through the opening in the top of the processor, making sure that each stream of oil is fully incorporated before adding more. When all the oil has been added, the mayonnaise should be thick, luxurious, and fully emulsified.
* I almost always use a plain, neutral vegetable oil like Wesson when making mayonnaise. Canola oils and olive oils are way too pungent. There are many varieties of plain vegetable oils to choose from, so use the one you're most comfortable with.
For the GREEN SAUCE
Yield: 1½ cups
1 cup Perfect Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
1 bunch watercress, leaves only
4 tarragon sprigs, leaves only
4 mint sprigs, leaves only
10 basil leaves
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
In the bowl of a food processer fitted with the metal blade, combine all the ingredients and process them until they are smooth. Remove the sauce to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight, before serving.
For the ORANGE MAYONNAISE
Yield: A little more than 1 cup
1 cup Perfect Mayonnaise
6 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tablespoon minced orange zest
1 tablespoon chopped chives
⅛ teaspoon salt
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients until they are well combined.
For the SECRET RANCH DRESSING
Yield: 1½ cups
¾ cup Perfect Mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped chives
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients until they are well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 5 days before serving.
Photo by Victoria Pearson