Why This Recipe Works
Most store-bought mayonnaises have long ingredient lists that include preservatives, stabilizers, and unwanted additives, and even homemade mayo recipes often call for vegetable oil. We wanted to create a simple, paleo-friendly mayonnaise that could be used in many different applications. Most mayo recipes contain egg yolks, and for good reason: Egg yolks contain a natural emulsifier, which first helps bind the ingredients and then prevents them from separating, creating a uniformly creamy consistency. To make our mayo even more foolproof, we wanted to boost the emulsifying power of the egg yolks with another ingredient. We found that just a bit of Dijon mustard further emulsified the mixture and added a pleasant hint of acidity. Since vegetable oil was off the table, we replaced it with extra-virgin olive oil. We decided to use a food processor to mix our mayo since the mechanical agitation forms a much more stable emulsion than most cooks can achieve by hand. However, our mayonnaise ended up with an unpleasant bitter flavor. We were puzzled until we remembered a recent test kitchen discovery: Extra-virgin olive oil tends to become bitter when processed because it contains bitter-tasting compounds that break into small droplets at high processing speeds and become more prominent. We decided to cut the bitterness by supplementing with another oil. Our tests revealed that mild-flavored macadamia nut oil worked well; we could put it in the food processor without it becoming bitter. To balance out the flavor of the macadamia nut oil and create a more traditional-tasting mayo, we whisked in some olive oil by hand at the end.