Mayonnaise made at home is one of the few preparations that is so different from its store-bought counterpart that there should be different names for them. I love to make mayonnaise. And if you use a whisk attachment with an immersion blender, it doesn’t take any real effort. But whisking it by hand is also very satisfying, and a bit of a workout.
Having enough water to maintain the emulsification is important. You don’t need much (and the lemon juice serves this function as well). If you like a lemony mayonnaise, use a full tablespoon of lemon juice. If you want to hold back, begin with two teaspoons of lemon juice and one of water. Have a little of each on hand as well, to add as you wish. If the mayonnaise begins to look too thick, add a few drops of water. If you want more acidity, add more lemon. You can add more lemon than you think you need, as you won’t be eating it straight, so don’t be shy.
Homemade mayonnaise has a texture like nothing else, far superior to the gelatinized stuff in a jar. Moreover, you can control the flavor, adding lemon and even aromatics. I’m partial to minced shallot macerated in lemon juice—so good with artichokes and asparagus. Adding freshly minced herbs, such as tarragon, transforms it into a magical sauce. Try it on potatoes or boiled cauliflower, or use it on a fried egg sandwich.
Or just plain, on your BLT from scratch.