Sardine Mayo

DSC03877When I first started getting CSA boxes, I had more than a few “what the heck do I do with this?” moments.  If you’ve ever held a piece of kohlrabi without actually knowing it was kohlrabi, you have some idea of what I mean.

Early on in my CSA journey, I invested in two cookbooks which have since become fundamental to my cooking – How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, both by Mark Bittman.

The latter book, HTCEV, works like this: you buy a veggie, open up the book to the page that covers said veggie, and magically have about a gajillion options on what to do with it.  The veggies are organized alphabetically, so you can find your gajillion options with haste.

The former, HTCE, does pretty much what the title says.  It gives you a recipe for pretty much anything you would want to cook and, as a bonus, it offers about three million and one variations for each recipe provided.

(I embellish.  But only a tad.)

A friend asked for cookbook recs on Facebook once and I *might* have said that if my house caught on fire, I would grab the three kids first and the two Bittmans second.

So, the other night, I needed to make some homemade mayo.  Store-bought mayo is usually laden with either soy or canola or (blech!) both, so I have gotten into the habit of regularly making my own.  I usually rely on Julie and Charles Mayfield’s Paleo Comfort Foods mayo recipe.  It has never failed me.  But, on this night, Baby A had pulled all my cookbooks off my shelf and as I was putting my HTCE away, I decided to see what my old pal Mark B. had to say about mayonnaise.

I decided to give his simple recipe a whirl, but then I turned the page to see where he suggested using whole anchovies in lieu of some of the oil.  A whole food fat subbing for the liquid version in a mayo recipe?  That was right up my alley.DSC03881

But, I decided I would rather play with my sardines and all of their Omega-3, CoQ-10, Vitamin D, calcium goodness than follow Bittman’s recipe to the letter.

The result is a creamy, delicious, mayo that went well with my grassfed burger and caramelized Vidalia onions.  I cannot wait to use it in a tuna salad or as a dip for shrimp.

I used one large fish from a package of Wild Planet sardines.  If you use another brand with a smaller fish, you may find you need more than one.

Also, slow and steady definitely wins the emulsification race.  Do not get impatient with the thin stream of olive oil, or you will have a mess on your hands and no mayo to show for your efforts.

Sardine Mayo
Prep time
Total time
Adapted from Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything.
Recipe type: condiment
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. prepared yellow mustard (check label to make sure it is gluten free)
  • 1 large sardine, packed in water
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 2 TBSP. lemon juice
  • 1 cup olive oil (extra virgin will taste stronger, but it is what I used)
  1. Add egg, mustard, sardine, salt and lemon juice to food processor or high-speed blender.
  2. Starting with a low-speed to chop the sardine, blend the ingredients together.
  3. Taste the mixture and add more lemon juice, salt or mustard as needed.
  4. Gradually turn your speed to medium-high and begin to drizzle the olive oil into the blender.
  5. In order for the mayo to emulsify, you must go slowly. Start with a few drops and then a very slow stream.
  6. Continue adding the oil until it is all in the blender.
  7. Using a Vitamix, I ended with a few seconds on high. It added an extra bit of creaminess to the mayo.

This post appears at Nourishing Joy’s Thank Goodness It’s Monday #22 along with loads of other great posts!

13 Responses to “Sardine Mayo”

  1. […] not surprised I hadn’t come across the idea of making mayonnaise out of small oily fish before today, but I sure wish I […]

  2. on 02 Jun 2013 at 3:15 pmD. M. Mitchell

    That’s pretty much how I make my mayo–sans sardine. One-quarter cup EVOO in the blender, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp mustard, 1 tsp stevia or honey (more or less), 1/2 tsp white pepper, 2 tbsp organic, raw apple cider vinegar, one large egg. Start the blender on lowest setting, remove the top piece and drizzle in the rest of the EVOO so slowly its nearly painful. Towards the end my congealed mayo usually cavitates before I’ve poured in all the EVOO and it will pool on top, so I use a small rubber spatula to carefully give it a mix. Carefully, because if you go too deep you’ll end up with tiny bits of rubber in your mayo. :-). I got the original recipe from a cook book my sister has and they suggested using canola oil, of course. (Bleh!)

  3. on 02 Jun 2013 at 9:41 pmGiGi Eats Celebrities

    How unique! I LOVE this recipe and must make it!

  4. on 03 Jun 2013 at 3:33 amSarah, Simply Cooked

    What a great idea! I bet it is quite tasty – more interesting than regular mayo. Wouldn’t it make a great sauce for a smoked salmon breakfast?

  5. on 03 Jun 2013 at 11:34 amKristine Rudolph

    Oh yes, it would!

  6. on 05 Jun 2013 at 4:56 amMark

    Sorry for being really stupid, but I’m assuming the sardine is cooked first?

  7. on 05 Jun 2013 at 8:25 amKristine Rudolph

    If you buy it in a tin, like the Wild Planet ones I used, then yes. I’ve never actually seen raw sardines available at my fish counter, but if you have access to them and plan to use them, you would want to cook it first.

  8. […] Sardine Mayo from Kristine […]

  9. on 01 Jul 2013 at 8:32 amHomemade Condiments

    […] oil to substitute, and it tastes good, but is a bit too solid refrigerated.  I am tempted to try this sardine mayo recipe next […]

  10. on 17 Aug 2013 at 12:24 pmLBell

    First-ever try making homemade mayo and this worked beautifully! Thanks so much!

  11. on 17 Aug 2013 at 5:28 pmKristine Rudolph

    I am so glad it worked well for you and congrats on your first mayo experience!

  12. […] 8. Sardine Mayo If you’re looking for something a bit different why not try this sardine mayo? That is, if you like sardines. When you eat Paleo you may find that you’re introduced with new food ideas and food items that you didn’t eat before. But that’s part of the process, you want to broaden your horizons as much as you can, since there are so many foods you won’t be able to eat anymore. The interesting part of this recipe is that it’s pretty much your basic mayo, except for one ingredient: a sardine. This of course is going to give it a strong and fishy taste, but sardines are also high in omega-3s, so there’s a nutritional benefit to this mayonnaise as well. […]

  13. on 29 Jan 2015 at 9:03 am21 Easy Paleo Mayo Recipes

    […] 15. Sardine Mayo […]

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