For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of tasting aioli, it is a creamy, garlic flavoured Mediterranean dipping sauce that is commonly served with shoestring fries, grilled meat and vegetables and alongside different finger foods. Aioli is made with eggs, oil, garlic and lemon and it is enhanced by a squirt of Tabasco sauce or a sprinkle of red pepper. It works well as a spread in sandwiches and wraps. Lemon infused aioli is great with fish and seafood. It is a classic complement to grilled salmon. Different flavours such as sundried tomato, avocado and various herbs such as mint and coriander work together with the existing flavours to create a unique variety of different aioli dips.
Although the ingredients of an aioli recipe are very simple, there are a few secrets to ensuring that they blend together perfectly to create a creamy texture that is ready to serve. Make sure that you are using good quality vegetable, sunflower, avocado or coconut oil. If you choose to use olive oil, make sure it is the mild tasting variety as stronger olive oils will create a sharp, unpleasant flavour when they are blended with the eggs. Alternatively, you can use a few drops of regular olive oil in combination with another oil. That way, you will have the mild olive flavour you desire without it becoming too overpowering.
The secret to creating the desired texture is to place all of the desired ingredients in a blender and mix them until they reach a smooth texture. The next step requires that you slowly drizzle in the oil as you continue to blend. If you aren’t really, painstakingly slow about this, you won’t achieve the desired texture and you run the risk of the mixture splitting. Heat is also a catalyst for a split aioli, so you may even want to blend the mixture in short bursts to make sure that the food processor does not overheat. Alternatively, blend the mixture by hand and control the speed and temperature inside the bowl. Some chefs swear that using a hand-held blender or whisk results in the best, most supple texture of aioli.
For a sweeter tasting aioli, be sure to roast the garlic before blending it into the mixture. Rosemary aioli is great with lamb, while you can experiment with interesting flavour combinations such as lavender and basil when serving it with seafood. Adding parmesan to your aioli makes for a fuller texture that is perfect with crab cakes or arancini. Blue cheese aioli works well with beef burgers. Curry flavoured aioli makes it into a spicy dip that is great with potato or sweet potato fries.
Although raw egg is not recommended for small children and pregnant women, pasteurised egg yolks provide an alternative ingredient. Mustard and water are two ingredients that can replace the egg in a vegan version of aioli. Slivered almonds are also a tasty addition to the vegan option. The recipe is already dairy free, which is good news for all of those lactose intolerant chefs.
EASY AIOLI RECIPE
- Peeled garlic cloves- 1 large or 2 small
- Egg yolk - 1
- Salt- a few pinches
- Olive oil- ½ cup
- White pepper-1/4 tsp
- Black pepper-1/4tsp
- Chop garlic cloves into small pieces. Pound in the mortar.
- Now it is time to add salt & egg yolk. Stir to incorporate.
- Add a few drops of olive oil at first. Gradually increase the amount as the egg yolk becomes thick.
- The moment the yolk reaches saturation, there will be a clucking sound.
- You can add a few drops of water, it will whiten Aioli and you will be able add more oil. It is really helpful if you find that garlic is still very aggressive.