As taught to my mother in the 50’s by Eddie, an extraordinary woman who worked for the family and who had learned the recipe from Great Grandmother…and I quote my mother [my input in brackets]:
Now you must understand that when Eddie was teaching me to cook, or rather I should say I was hanging around the kitchen while she cooked,
hoping I might fathom the mysteries of all that delicious food she served us; when I asked her, after she had put something in the oven, “When will it be done?” her reply was invariably “When its cooked.” [do you see why it took me so long to learn how to write short sentences being that I was raised by a Memphisonian mother?]
So I will give you the amounts and it may take your own intuition to get the mayonaise to the point where Eddie would exclaim the concoction to be “Just right.” [this is the case with most family recipes, including recipes from the paternal Yankee side]
1 egg yolk
1 dollop of mustard [you must intuit “dollop”]
salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic pressed (if desired)
1 bottle of olive oil [you must intuit how big this bottle is–but here I will give you a hint–perhaps 12, but that is only derived from my own intuition, and therefore is not exact]
1 teaspoon paprika
lots of elbow grease [there are probably electric tools that can take the place of this, but it won’t taste as good and won’t be as much fun or memorable]
First you take a nice size mixing bowl and one small bowl.
Crack the egg on the lip of the small bowl and separate the white from the yolk by tossing the yolk from one half of the egg shell to the
other and letting the white fall into the small bowl. Either keep the white for another more virtuous day or discard.
Put only the yolk in the large mixing bowl.
Squeeze the lemon and add only the juice (no seeds) to the egg yolk.
Add the mustard to the egg and lemon juice. I use Dijon, post-life in France but Eddie used Colman’s powdered mustard [since 1814, but new and improved website with audio] after adding water as directed.
Salt and pepper and paprika to taste.
Post life in France [the first time this phrase was written I edited it; after having read it twice I left it in], I started adding the garlic at this point.
Take a fork or a wire whisk and make an emulsion of the above ingredients.
Take a deep breath. This is the crucial step.
Add the olive oil in a steady, slow stream; all the while whisking all the ingredients to form a stronger emulsion. This will happen
gradually. Much elbow grease will be expended. You might notice a little bit of olive oil off to the side of your bowl; hurry there and
bind it with the emulsion. You want to stop adding the oil when the mixture reaches saturation. It will not be the consistency of a store-bought mayonaise, but you do want it to come to a peak when you lift the whisk.
If you go too far and add too much oil the mixture will separate and you will have a nice dressing but no mayonaise. To quote Elizabeth David “Start again, this time more circumspectly.
Sprinkle the mayonaise with paprika.
You may serve it directly or cover and chill for later but not terribly much later!
“Mmmm just right”