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Tarragon Caper Mayonnaise

(recipe, Kelly Myers)

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Spring tarragon has a soft-yet-pervasive anise scent that is flattering to fish, poultry, and sandwiches. Tarragon pairs well with salty capers and red-wine vinegar. Be sure to use an oil with a neutral flavor for this mayonnaise; olive oil would be too strong.


  1. 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  2. 1 tsp. lemon juice
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. ¾ tsp. red-wine vinegar
  5. ¾ cup neutral oil, such as canola, grapeseed, or safflower
  6. 1 to 2 tsp. warm water (if necessary)
  7. 2 tsp. capers in salt, rinsed and drained (if using large capers, chop roughly and use 1 Tbsp. total)
  8. 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
  9. Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Whisk the yolk, lemon juice, and salt in a heavy bowl until the mixture is light and creamy.
  2. Using a fast back-and-forth motion, gradually whisk the oil into the yolk, drop by drop. Increase the oil to a thin stream and continue whisking until you have incorporated all the oil. Whisk in the vinegar.
  3. If the mayonnaise is too thick, whisk in the warm water to thin. Stir in the capers and tarragon, and adjust the seasoning. Add black pepper and salt to taste.


The mayonnaise will keep in the refrigerator for four days. Kelly Myers elaborates on making aïoli and mayonnaise in her [/columns/frontburner/aioliversus_mayonnaise "June 2008"] Front Burner column.