Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A is for: Aioli

I have a confession to make.

For a long time, I've been afraid of making aioli.

It's an irrational fear. Anyone who cooks as much as I do should be comfortable making an emulsion. I think the science behind it is what made me nervous.

Turns out, it's actually super easy.

So, the moral of today: conquer your fears.

Onto the aioli. Aioli means different things depending on where you're eating it. The name literally means "garlic + oil"... which are the only two ingredients when making it in Spain (specifically Catalonia), where I studied abroad. But in the French version (specifically Provence), it often includes egg yolk and is basically a homemade mayonnaise.

A touch of Dijon mustard will help in the emulsifying process, as will the egg and garlic. The Meyer lemon juice will give it a fresh, bright flavor. You can use all olive oil if you want, but it can be kind of overpowering, so I did a mixture of olive and the only neutral oil I had on hand... safflower. (Though something like canola would work too).

First thing's first. You need a garlic paste. Start with one clove of garlic, and finely mince it up. Then sprinkle it with a couple pinches of kosher salt and begin rocking your knife back and forth, applying pressure with your other hand.

After a couple of minutes, you will have a paste.

Add the garlic paste, along with the accumulated garlicky juices to a bowl. Also add an egg yolk, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and juice from half of a Meyer lemon.

BTW.... If you're worried about using raw eggs, consider buying pasteurized eggs, or doing it yourself by boiling for one minute. Since I generally buy high-quality eggs from local farms, I felt OK about it. What can I say? After I got over my emulsion aversion, there was no stopping me.

Whisk together to incorporate.

Then this is the super important part.

S L O W L Y add the oil, starting off by adding it one drop at a time, while constantly whisking. Wait to add the next bit of oil until it's completely incorporated. Eventually, you can start adding in a steady stream.

The result will be a smooth, creamy mixture. If it becomes too thick, add a couple drops of water while whisking. (BTW... now that I know what should be in mayonnaise, can someone please explain to me why the store bought stuff is white?!?)

It won't be super thick like mayonnaise, but more like a sauce. (Side note: I love this whisk, and it worked beautifully for this recipe. The angled, weighted ball design shortens whisking time because it allows more air to be incorporated).

At this point, you can add more garlic or lemon or any flavor you like such as herbs or spices. And if you're feeling super spicy, you can add some sriracha. Because everything's better with sriracha.

This would be great on those leftover turkey sandwiches next week. It's also delicious with artichokes and chickpea fries! So what are you waiting for... face your fears and make some aioli today. :)


by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: condiment aioli garlic olive oil French

Ingredients (1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • juice from 1/2 Meyer lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (such as Canola)
  • sriracha, to taste (optional)
  1. Finely mince garlic and sprinkle with salt. Rock knife back and forth, applying pressure with other hand until you have a smooth paste.
  2. Add paste, along with any accumulated juices to a non-reactive bowl with egg yolk, Dijon and lemon juice. Whisk together.
  3. Combine oils in something with a pour spout, such as a measuring cup. Slowly add oil, drop by drop, while constantly whisking. Wait to add the next drop of oil until it is completely incorporated. As the emulsion becomes stronger, you can begin adding the oil in a thin stream until all of it has been incorporated. If mixture is too thick, add a couple drops of water.
  4. Add any additional flavors such as more garlic, lemon, herbs or sriracha. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to three days.
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  1. I enjoy my stick blender for things like this.

  2. I am also scared of making aioli, given the last few times I tried I could never get it to thicken -- maybe I'm adding the oil too quickly? Everyone I've asked said just use the food processor to avoid that.

    1. You might be adding too quickly. Also, did you use Dijon? It acts as an emulsifier. So does the garlic. I know you can use the food processor, but I've also heard that the consistency isn't the same as by doing it by hand. Good luck!!


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