4 Reasons to make home-made mayonnaise

4 reasons to make Homemade mayonnaise
Tomato Pie and the glamourous friends it attracts

It helps to have multiple reasons to make home-made mayonnaise.   It should really be eaten within  day or two of being made since it is made with raw egg but  it is impossible to make a small amount since you have to add enough oil to make it thick.   It’s a drag to throw it out  if you don’t use it all, because oil is expensive.  You can use up an entire batch of home-made mayonnaise by making three of the following four recipes.

Mayonnaise is only safe and delicious if you use the freshest eggs from a source that you trust and the most fresh and delicious oil.  I am a fan of very mild oil like sunflower.  If you choose to use something stronger like an olive oil make sure that it is absolutely fresh and of the highest quality.

Whisk or blend one fresh egg (or just one egg yolk), the juice from half a lemon with all of the seeds strained out and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Gradually add oil while whisking or blending.  You cannot add the oil and then blend it, it must be done at the same time and very gradually or the oil will not combine with the egg. The amount of the oil varies depending on the size of the egg and the viscosity of the oil.     The more oil you add the thicker the mayonnaise will get.  I prefer to leave my mayonnaise a little thinner than the store-bought stuff.


I made this up one summer that I was visiting many people who lived in many beautiful places outside of the city.  They all grew fresh herbs and it seemed that I was able to find these ingredients in everyone’s kitchen.

  • a handful of fresh dill
  • a handful of fresh chives
  • a handful of fresh thyme
  • a pinch of dry tarragon
  • a pinch of dry basil
  • 1/4 cup grated romano, pecorino or parmesan cheese
  • 1 Table spoon yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • lots of black pepper
  • Some of your home-made mayonnaise (to taste)
  • maybe some lemon juice (to taste)
  • maybe some olive oil (to taste)


Ideally you have really delicious fresh corn that you have grilled over a fire, but it’s also excellent with really delicious fresh corn that you have boiled briefly in salted water.  I used to open up the corn a bit, remove the silk and then close it back in the husk, soak the corn in water for half and hour and then grill it in the husk….but I don’t own a grill anymore.  To make Chili mayo combine home-made mayonnaise, lime juice and chili powder or chipotle en adobo.  Slather your corn with the mayo and then sprinkle it with grated parmesan or some other strong hard cheese.


In truth, the other recipes in this little missive can be made with store-bought mayo that has been thinned with some fresh lemon juice.  This one cannot.  This is only good with fresh home-made mayonnaise.  My Aunty Mona told me this recipe.  When I was about 25 years old I was telling Mona that I wished that I could make poached eggs with hollandaise sauce.  She was aghast that I did not know how to poach an egg and she gave me these directions.  She then went on to say that making hollandaise sauce was too much trouble and why didn’t I just make mayonnaise with extra lemon juice.  She then went on to say that she liked to eat poached eggs and mayonnaise with swiss chard from her garden.   Anyone who lived with me or came to stay at my house for the second half of my twenties can tell you that I ate this for breakfast almost everyday for the next five years.

  • 1 pat of butter
  • 1 red onion, peeled, sliced in half and then cut into half moons
  • 1 bunch of swiss chard
  • some salt
  • One or Two eggs per person
  • white vinegar
  • home-made mayonnaise
  1. Heat the butter in a large heavy pan with a lid over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onions and a bit of salt.  Cover the onions and let them sweat while you clean the swiss chard.
  3. Wash the swiss chard thouroughly.
  4. Cut the stems away from the leaf by making a sharp v shaped cut up one side of the stem and down the other.  Slice off the thick end of the chard stem and discard it.  In the winter when chard is tougher you will need to discard 2 to 3 inched of the stem as it will be stringy and indigestible. In the Spring when chard is tender you can trim off just the very tip.
  5. Slice the stems thinly like celery and add them to the stewing onion.
  6. Slice the leaves as small or large as you wish and leave them to drain in a colander.
  7. Bring a shallow pan filled with two to three inches of water to a boil.
  8. Add  salt and a splash of vinegar to the water.  This is not for flavour.  The eggs will not hold together without the vinegar so do not skip it.
  9. Add the swiss chard leaves to the onion stewing pot, and cover again.  Turn the heat up to medium and let it cook while you finish the eggs.
  10. When the water is gently boiling gently crack an egg directly into the water.  Add the other eggs, but do not crowd them and let the water return to a gentle boil before adding each new egg.  Once all of the eggs are added reduce the heat slightly so that the boil remains very gentle.  Keep your eyes on the eggs.  When an egg looks like it is opaque and white underneath and is beginning to form an opaque skin across the yolk on top, gently roll it over with a spoon.
  11. Once I have turned my eggs over, the chard is usually done and I put a bit of it on each plate.  By the time I’ve plated the chard the eggs are finished on the other side (they only need a minute or two. Carefully remove it from the water with a slotted spoon and place it on top of the plated swiss chard.
  12. Add a dollop of home-made mayo to each egg.

A few thoughts on egg poaching….I like eggs that have runny yolks but many people do not.  If someone does not like runny yolks do not force them to eat their poached eggs runny!  Just cook their eggs a bit  longer.  Who cares if they are correctly poached or not.  On the same train of thought.  Poached eggs frequently break and become a bit ugly.  Who cares?  They are still delicious!  If you are poaching eggs at home you are a super star and anyone who complains about your ugly poached eggs can go buy themselves an Egg McMuffin for breakfast.  And lastly, fancy egg poaching contraptions are available and I think that they are not necessary.  Does anyone anown  egg poaching thingy?  Does it do anything?  I’d love to know.


This is adapted from the “More Home Cooking” by Laurie Colwin, which is my favourite food book of all time.  For a gluten-free version click here.

  • 2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • about 3/4 cups yogurt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sharp cheddar
  • 1/3 cup home-made mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup pesto (or fresh chopped  basil, chives or scallions)
  1. bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop the tomatoes into the water whole and boil until the skin started to crack (this only takes a couple of minutes).  Fish the tomatoes out of the water and let them cool for a few minutes.  When you can touch them slip them out of  their peels and throw the peels away.  I do this for two reasons.  Cooked tomato peels have an icky texture in my opinion and more importantly many, many people get a sore stomach from cooked tomato peels.  Tomatoes are in the nightshade family and the toxin that makes deadly nightshade poisonous is present in tomato peels.  cut the tomatoes in half across their belly (in the direction that does not slice the stem).
  2. Squeeze the seeds and extra liquid out of each half into a bowl and save the tomato juice for something else (see the black bean recipe under the tag CHEAP on this blog).   Don’t skip this step, too much tomato liquid makes the pie soggy.
  3. Chop the tomatoes and set aside.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Combine the flour and baking powder in a large mixing bow.
  6. Cut the butter into the flour until it is like course cornmeal with a few pea sized chunks of butter left.  I use my fingers and work quickly.  If the butter starts to melt put it in the freezer for a few minutes.  The butter needs to stay cold.
  7. Add the yogurt bit by bit and gently combine with the flour using a fork.  Do not knead!  It should make a ball of soft but not to gooey dough.
  8. Roll half of the dough out on a floured surface and use it to line a 9 inch pie plate.
  9. Spread the tomatoes out in the bottom of the pie.
  10. Spread the pesto or fresh herbs out over the tomatoes.
  11. Add the grated cheddar.
  12. Drizzle the mayo over the cheddar.
  13. Roll out the other half of the crust and seal the pie.  Cut vents in the lid.
  14. Bake the pie for 25 minutes

CHRIS GREEN’S WINTER TOMATO PIE VARIATION-  Instead of steps 1 and 2 cut the tomatoes in half, toss with a few cloves of chopped garlic, fresh rosemary and a little salt.  Spread it out on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for a few hours until the liquid is condensed into tomato deliciousness.  You will need to use more tomatoes…maybe three pounds and you can skip the pesto or fresh herbs.  I still pick the peels out of the sauce after its cooked.

38 Comments Add yours

  1. jeff says:

    Erin, I miss you.

  2. petitbouree says:

    YUM! 🙂

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