Garlic Mayonnaise

The most dramatic difference between hand- and machine-made mayonnaise can be tasted when you make garlic mayonnaise in a mortar and pestle (not the smooth chemist’s variety but one of semi-rough marble) rather than in a machine. The texture is like velvet, the flavors are subtle, and the result is by far the most digestible.

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup fresh white breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup fish or chicken stock, depending on final use
  • 2 cups olive oil

Method

Work the garlic, egg yolks, breadcrumbs, salt, and a little stock to a paste in a mortar or food processor. When the paste is smooth, start adding the oil slowly, working it all the time. Add as much oil as the sauce will take without breaking; then add stock to thin it so that it will just pour off a spoon.

Variations

For saucing cold poached red snapper and other white non-oily fish, add sea urchin puree and the result is transcendental. Crayfish garlic mayonnaise is not bad; use the cooked shells pounded in the mortar in which you make the mayonnaise, and then sieve out. Put the cooked shelled, crayfish tails in the sauce and garnish with chopped hard-cooked egg and chive flowers. Or for smoked-chili garlic mayonnaise, to a cup of garlic mayonnaise add 1 teaspoon chipotle paste, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, and lime juice, as well as freshly grated zest of lime to taste. For red pepper-garlic mayonnaise, or rouille, mix cup red bell pepper puree and 1 teaspoon cayenne (or more to taste) into the initial garlic paste of the garlic mayonnaise recipe to make a sauce that is traditionally served on little toasts floating on fish soup, but is also very good on cold meats and fish, or on grilled country-style bread as a snack with drinks. Barbecue garlic mayonnaise: this is so delicious there is nothing I can say really, except mix together 1 cup mayonnaise with ½ cup barbecue sauce and 1 tablespoon dark Antiguan rum, then howl like a coyote after you have had a Sazerac cocktail or two and bitten into a fried-oyster po’ boy sandwich slathered in this sauce.

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