Béchamel, Espagnole, Hollandaise, Mayonnaise, Tomato Sauce, and Velouté are the mother sauces of French cuisine. We also have added Beurre Blanc which isn't officially a mother sauce, but it also is a solid base other sauces are built from. Once you know how to make these you can add a few different ingredients to each base to make 100's of different variations.
Mayonnaise is a staple in this country, and around the world. It is hard to find a household that doesn't have a jar of Hellman's, or Best Food's Mayo in the fridge. Processed Mayonnaise is a handy thing to keep around, but you really have not had Mayonnaise until you have tested the homemade fresh variety.
Fresh Mayonnaise is a mother sauce, processed Mayonnaise, not so much.
Mayonnaise is a thick sauce made primarily from vegetable oil and egg yolks. Whitish-yellow in color, it is a stable emulsion formed from the oil and yolks and is generally flavored with salt, pepper, vinegar and/or lemon juice, and frequently mustard.
Mayonnaise is made by slowly adding oil to an egg yolk, mustard, vinegar, and salt. The mustard helps to keep the emulsion stable while whisking vigorously to disperse the oil into the liquid. Egg yolk contains lecithin, which acts as the emulsifier. All ingredients are added at the beginning of the process to prevent speckles. Adding the salt after emulsification can cause white speckles.
The traditional French recipe is essentially the same as the basic one described above, but it uses top-quality olive oil and vinegar. Some nouvelle cuisine recipes specify safflower oil. It is considered essential to constantly beat the mayonnaise using a whisk while adding the olive oil a drop at a time, fully incorporating the oil before adding the next tablespoon.
2 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/8 teaspoon sugar
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 to 5 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar
1-1/2 cups olive or other salad oil
4 teaspoons hot water
Beat yolks, salt, mustard, sugar, pepper, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a small bowl until very thick and pale yellow.
Place yolks, salt, mustard, sugar, pepper, and 3 teaspoons lemon juice in blender cup or work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, and buzz 15 seconds (use low blender speed). Now, with motor running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup oil (use moderately high blender speed). As mixture begins to thicken, continue adding oil in a fine steady stream, alternating with hot water and remaining lemon juice. Stop motor and scrape mixture down from sides of blender cup or work bowl as needed.
Sauce Nicoise: Prepare mayonnaise as directed and set aside. Mix 2 tablespoons tomato puree with 2 minced pimientos and 1/2 crushed clove garlic; press through a fine sieve and blend into mayonnaise.
Ailoli Sauce: Prepare mayonnaise as directed and mix with fresh crushed garlic.
Russian Mayonnaise: Prepare mayonnaise, then mix in 1/4 cup black or red caviar, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill.
Mustard Mayonnaise: Prepare mayonnaise, then mix in 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard.
Curry Mayonnaise: Prepare mayonnaise, then blend in 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder.
Chantilly Mayonnaise: Prepare mayonnaise, then fold in 1/2 cup heavy cream, beaten to soft peaks.
Fruit Mayonnaise: Prepare mayonnaise, then beat in 3 tablespoons each orange juice and superfine sugar, 1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind, and a pinch nutmeg. For added zip, mix in 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other fruit liqueur. Serve with fruit salads.