Cooking From Every Angle

Homemade Mayonnaise with a Twist

February 5, 2010 • 55 Comments

- Amanda

On a trip to Spain about a decade ago, I encountered a pillowy white condiment that no matter how I describe here won't sound nearly as exciting as it was at that moment: the sauce was a mayonnaise made with milk and oil and not a trace of egg. It was silkier and lighter than regular mayonnaise, more like a glossy Italian meringue that tasted like olive-oil-whipped cream. I put it on my mental "story ideas" list, where it lived for the next ten years, happily buried between "Morton vs. Diamond Kosher Salt" (don't even think of touching this matter of national import!) and "Vietnamese minced chicken salad" (which was recently "scooped" by Julia Moskin at the New York Times).

I hadn't bothered to write about the milk mayonnaise because I hadn't a clue how to make it, and apparently getting out some milk, oil and a blender was much too taxing to do on my own. Just a few days ago, I heard that David Leite, the founder of Leite's Culinaria, had a recipe for the sauce in his book, "The New Portuguese Table." (And soon after, he informed me that Kathleen Purvis at the Charlotte Observer was planning to write about it; you can read her fine story here.) Ugh! 

Like a good(ish) sport, I sucked it up and made David's recipe. Four times. (I'll save you the painful details: don't go off-road here, use an immersion blender or a blender, like he says.) And on that fourth try, I had something reveletory: sauce that had the texture of buttercream and the clear flavor of an infusion. There was fragrance from garlic, tang from lemon juice, and silkiness from the butterfat emulsifying with the oil.

David learned the recipe from Ilda Vinagre, a chef in Portugal (who, in turn, had learned it from a cook in Brazil). Following Ilda's lead, David likes to mix in green olives; ginger; sun-dried tomatoes; and smoked paprika. I'm happy with it plain.

And although I wish I were less of a procrastinator, I'm happy that David wrote about the mayonnaise first. For one thing, I would have never figured out the technique. And for another, Leite means milk. And Mr. Milk should own the milk mayonnaise story.

Milk "Mayonnaise" (Maionese de Leite)

Adapted from "The New Portuguese Table" by David Leite

Makes about 1 cup

  • 1/3 cup very cold whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • About 3/4 cup vegetable oil, or 1/2 cup vegetable oil plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt

 

Combine the milk, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Using a handheld blender (or a blender), buzz on high for 30 seconds until frothy. With the motor running on high, slowly pour in the oil a few drops at a time, and gradually increase this to a fine thread, moving the blender up and down, until the mixture thickens lusciously and resembles a soft mayonnaise. You may need more or less oil. Season with salt to taste. The mayonnaise will last up to 1 week in the fridge.

Jump to Comments (55)

Comments (55)

Default-small
Default-small
Img_0472

over 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

Oh wow. I'm making the Smoked Lentil Salad right now and only just noticed our Mayo jar is scraped clean. This is a wicked replacement! Magical how it thickens!

Sasasunakku-avatar

over 3 years ago Sasa

I just made this - it's so crazy how it thickens! I kept expecting it not to and not to...but it did. I'm going to use it for Molly at Orangette's Russian egg salad ^_^

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Yes, there's a magical quality to it, which makes it fun.

Default-small

almost 4 years ago sstratmann

so, this is probably a very dumb question, but beyond being deeelish, is this also a good lunch-box sandwich mayo? i'm desperate to find a way to send mayo on the sandwiches for my kids, without poisoning them. seems this may be OK...?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Yes, I think it would be safer than the alternative.

Christine-28_small(1)

over 4 years ago cheese1227

Can we get a picture of this?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

We don't have a photo but it looks like very white mayonnaise.

Default-small

over 4 years ago mountainchef

Hi Yalda,
Can you enlighten Me and Amanda as to what a Salad Olivier consists of?

Default-small

over 4 years ago AJohnson

I'm so excited to try this. I've developed a severe egg-intolerance, and have mourned the loss of mayo. This is going to be great! Thank you!!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

You're welcome -- all the credit goes to David Leite!

Default-small

over 4 years ago Kym9932

a side about mayo and eggs. If possible get eggs that have been laid the day you buy them and have never been refrigerated
that is the real important part. Once the egg has been refrigerated then it starts to die, but if never refrigerated then it just hangs out waiting to be sat on, because of course the egg still says alive because it wants to be a chicken.
I've kept mayo for three weeks using only fresh laid eggs...but I'm no Scientist, just IMHO

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Interesting -- I guess it's like a cut vegetable or fruit.

Default-small

over 4 years ago Kym9932

I love the sound of this mayo also, but question
why can't you do it in a food processor and use the plunger (which has a hole in it) to pour in the oil?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

David Leite says you can do it in a mini food processor. I think the idea is that the liquids need to be emulsified on high speed in a compact area and in a large food processor, the milk and oil would get flung around too much. But I haven't tried it, and it may be worth testing it at least once.

Default-small

over 4 years ago mountainchef

Love the sound of this Mayo. Am also intrigued by the Salad Olivier some folks have mentioned. What is this?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I was wondering the same.

Cakecake

over 4 years ago campagnes

I can't wait to try this, but a quick question first: You specify using a blender or immersion blender - do you think this would work with a high-powered food processor? I don't have either blender, unfortunately. Thanks for sharing this!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Please see two comments above -- I address a similar question.

Dmglvsm2

over 4 years ago dawnviola

I'm so excited to be reading this because I'm allergic to soy and can't buy prepared mayos...and making mayo myself is sometimes not high on my list of ways to use an egg yolk. I'm glad to see this alternative.

But, knowing what I know about emulsions, how does this stay together without separating for up to a week?

I may have to give it a try and see :-)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I probably shouldn't have included that storage detail because I haven't tried it myself, but that is what David Leite says.

Default-small

over 4 years ago Mac

Just tried this recipe with what I had on hand. I used 2% milk and sunflower/vegetable oil. I added a dollop of greek yogurt and it thickened up beautifully. I turned it into a dill mustard sauce for our dinner tonight.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Like your improvisation.

Default-small

over 4 years ago DianneV

I had this in Madrid with Spanish Tomato Toast (pan con tomate) and have wanted to duplicate it .I knew it wasn't quite aioli--I think this recipe solves the recipe puzzle. Thanks!

Merrill

over 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

That sounds delicious. Can't wait for summer!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Interesting -- in some ways it's more versatile than mayo because it's lighter/cleaner.

Clotilde_orange_square

over 4 years ago clotilde

For me, part of the appeal is that a milk-based mayo should keep a lot longer: when I make a classic mayo in my household of two, it's a real challenge to use it up before we feel it's no longer safe to eat, because of the raw egg yolk.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Good point -- hadn't thought about that.

Default-small

over 4 years ago Yalda

I'm with you Azita, this will be great in Salad Olivier.

Mayo is one of those condiments that is so versatile in my kitchen and the whole family loves it, so it'll be a real culinary coup if I can nail a good homemade version. I'm going to give this a try this week.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Good luck with it!

Ry_400

over 4 years ago melissav

Glad you didn't wait another decade to share this. This sounds great! I can't wait to give it a try.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Good luck and have faith -- it'll come together, even though it seems like it won't.

Default-small

over 4 years ago Veronica

Amanda--absolutely delicious and even easier to make than it sounds. Going to serve with seared tuna tonight. Thanks so much, again!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I can't believe you made it already -- how cool! And I love the idea of it with seared tuna. I'm going to have to try that. Have a great dinner.

Default-small

over 4 years ago Veronica

Thank you, Amanda. This sounds too good to be true! And a great story to go with it. Can't wait to try, so heading for the kitchen...now!

Default-small

over 4 years ago Azita

Thank you so much for this recipe. I've been looking for a recipe like this since I started making salad olivieh . It's just perfect!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great, enjoy! And I think David Leite includes other variations in his book, The New Portuguese Table -- check it out, if you have a chance.

Default-small

over 4 years ago SueonFood

If I had some whole milk in the house, I would make that this very second. It sounds like a revelation. I wonder if I could mix heavy cream with 1% milk. I find it odd, though, that the recipe doesn't use ALL olive oil.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

That seems worth trying. I talked to David Leite about the oil, and he thinks that olive oil is just too strong and heavy. And it makes sense to me -- when I make regular mayo, I always do half vegetable (or peanut) oil and half olive oil.

Ls

over 4 years ago gluttonforlife

Do you think I can make this with goat's milk??

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Hmm. I'm not sure it contains enough fat. But why not try it! Even my failed batches were delicious, they were just loose. So I could have used them more like salad dressing.

Ls

over 4 years ago gluttonforlife

I will give it a whirl (literally) and report back...

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Ha!

Monkeys

over 4 years ago monkeymom

This looks really interesting.,,I can't wait to try it. I'm wondering if there are specific things you would serve this mayonnaise with? Something where you could really appreciate the difference from regular mayonnaise?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I think Veronica (a few comments above) had a great idea -- she served hers with seared tuna. I think this would go well with any kind of fish, from salmon to striped bass. Also cold, poached shellfish. On sandwiches. As a dressing. I think you can use it pretty much any way you'd use mayo but especially when you're looking for a lighter touch.

Jenniferperillo2010bio

over 4 years ago Jennifer Perillo

I'm very excited to try this. I've made homemade mayo using egg yolks but this sounds really wonderful.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

It's fun to make!

Aromes_logo

over 4 years ago aromes

Thanks for the post Amanda. I love mayonnaise, does it myself at home so many times but I had fun reproducing this version of yours. This remind me so much of my childhood: Mum used to concoct some nice fresh home made mayonnaise that were so enjoyably flavourful that all my sisters and brothers made sure we knew how to do the same thing for the rest of our life. Nowadays, it is one of those nostalgic learnings of the past that we are so proud to have carried on with. Real mayonnaise is to me one of those things that flashes me back to the emotional sweetness of enjoying the joy of tasty food item. One reason also that all my life, I have been so picky about food: it has to taste great or else it is not food! lol

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Like your high standards. And glad to hear David Leite's recipe worked for you, and brought back such good memories. His recipe is definitely going into my regular mix.

Dave_-_headshot

over 4 years ago djgibboni

But it is a fascinating recipe....seems you coagulate the proteins in the milk with the lemon juice and mixing action, then use that as the emulsifier for the oil, much in the same way that egg protein would.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thank you for explaining that -- was wondering what goes on during the emulsification.

Dave_-_headshot

over 4 years ago djgibboni

There's something fishy about Mr Milk learning this recipe from Ms
Vinegar, isn't there??

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Yes!

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Amanda,
This sounds so good.
Can you skip the vegetable oil and use all olive oil?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

over 4 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

You can, but I think it might be a little too strong. I did half and half, and liked that.

Ghost_orchid_b_w

over 4 years ago Dulcinea

I don't remember where I read this, might have been Harold McGee, but olive oil is not good for mayonnaise. It has something to do with the size of the fat globules. When they are very small the bitterness of the oil overwhelms the emulsion. I can vouch for this in my own experience, but sadly I don't remember if it pertained to all or just machine (read: blender or immersion) - blended versions. Also, it may concern just extra-virgin olive oil. Regular OO may be okay. (Sorry not to remember more.)