Set a bowl on a damp towel. Have all ingredients at room temperature. with a wire whisk, beat the yolks with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add a little hot water while beating. Continue beating until the yolks are light and lemony color, about 2 minutes.
Now add oil, a drop at a time, with beating, until a little oil is incorporated. Then add the oil in a slow steady stream while beating, following the rule that you can add as much oil at a time as has been incorporated. It is good to have a helper. When you are nearing the end of the process, the mayonnaise may become quite stiff. If it looks "slippery" in the bowl, it may have reached its limit for oil. If the emulsion breaks, whip up a yolk in another bowl, and add the broken sauce as though it were oil. It will go back together quickly. Re-season the sauce when you are done. If it is too thick for your taste, a few drops of white wine will adjust it nicely. I like to work with it thick.
Some sources suggest adding some liquid at the end to improve keeping qualities. I prefer not to make more than I will use in a day, and always keep it covered and refrigerated. Avoid extremes of heat or cold. Oils may be blended. 1/2 cups cottonseed oil plus 1/2 cup olive oil makes a less expensive all purpose blend.
Yield: 2-1/2 cups
* These recipes are courtesy of the International Olive Oil Council.
© 1996, Steve K. Holzinger. All rights reserved.
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
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This page modified February 2007
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