Aioli is essentially mayonnaise, but mayonnaise with a pedigree. Redolent with raw garlic and olive oil, aioli is synonymous with Provence. It is used as a condiment for many dishes, including simply cooked vegetables, fish soups and seafood. It also makes an unusual spread for toasted croutons or dip for crudités.
Traditionally, aioli is made with a mortar and pestle and a whisk. In these modern times, I am thankful for the food processor, without which I wouldn’t attempt it. The food processor ensures emulsion, which is when the oil becomes suspended in the egg yolk, resulting in a thick and creamy texture.
The trick with aioli is not letting either the olive oil or the raw garlic overpower the flavor. Normally, I love the taste of olive oil in everything, but in aioli, too much olive oil can definitely be too much of a good thing. Many recipes call for all olive oil, but I have found that using a ratio of one part olive oil to one part neutral-flavored oil, such as canola or vegetable oil, yields the best results. Similarly, I have seen recipes calling for 4 or even more whole garlic cloves, but for my tastes, 2 large garlic cloves is the perfect amount. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Yields: ½ cup
Time to make: 15 minutes
Keeps: 1 week in the refrigerator
What you need:
- 2 eggs, yolks only, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 large garlic cloves, pressed
- ¼ cup olive oil and ¼ cup vegetable oil, mixed
- food processor
- Process together the egg yolks, lemon juice and garlic
- With the food processor running, slowly pour in the oil, beginning with just a few drops until the emulsion starts to form
- Continue processing until all oil is combined
Notes: If you like, vary the flavor of the finished aioli by adding a little seasoning. For instance, to serve aioli with a Spanish tapas spread, I stirred in 1 tbsp. smoked paprika.