Creamy, rich, versatile aioli is easy and delicious to make from scratch! This is going to be your best friend; aioli goes with everything!
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Aioli is not mayonnaise.
And it does not have mayonnaise as an ingredient.
I guess you can tell I'm kinda a snob when it comes to aioli.
It's a condiment from Spain and France, and uses extra virgin olive oil, egg yolks, lemon juice, and fresh garlic. This is a 'garlic aioli' recipe...but aioli literally means "Garlic Oil" so calling this recipe a 'garlic aioli' is...well...'garlic garlic oil'. All aioli should have garlic in it in order to be aioli, right?
Okay, now that we got that out of the way...
Who's ready for an arm workout?
This stuff is worth it! Just consider it your cardio for the day.
Aioli is like Frank's Red Hot Sauce, it goes with everything! Chicken, shrimp, fish, veggies, beef, french fries, literally everything. And it tastes 1000 times better than mayo from a jar. It's the bourgeois sauce, it elevates everything.
First we get fresh garlic, turn it into a paste. You can do it however you like, using a garlic press (easiest thing ever), or using a mortar and pestle (the 'authentic' route) or mincing the garlic then smashing it against your board with some coarse salt to form a paste (I call this the 'culinary school route').
We then have two fresh egg yolks in a metal, glass, or ceramic bowl. I don't know why but whenever I use a plastic bowl to make aioli, it never turns out. It might have something to do with fats being able to hide in the little cracks of plastic, kinda like how that messes up a good meringue.
Whisk up the garlic with the egg yolks until you see the egg yolk thicken up in the bowl. This is when you start putting in the oil, drop by drop. Literally just one drop, whisk it in, then another drop, whisk it in, and so on until the aioli comes together. It will become paler in color, thick like mayonnaise, and at this point you can add oil in larger quantities. I use a ½ teaspoon measure and pour that amount while still whisking vigorously until all the oil is incorporated.
I use half regular olive oil and half extra virgin, in order to have that delicious olive oil taste. I found using just extra virgin olive oil was sort of overpowering, it's so strong.
After that you can flavor your aioli however you want and use it in whatever you like. It's my favorite sandwich spread, and being able to flavor it myself allows it to be a versatile condiment (this aioli was used in patty melts, then I used it as a base to make some smokey chipotle aioli).
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- 1 clove of garlic
- Pinch of coarse kosher salt
- 2 fresh egg yolks, at room temperature
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Lemon juice, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Mince garlic with a chef knife. Sprinkle a pinch of coarse kosher salt or other coarse salt over the minced garlic, then take the side of your knife and carefully press down, smash, and 'smear' the garlic across the cutting board. Do this repeatedly, until the garlic stays together. Or use a garlic press.
- In a clean metal, glass, or ceramic bowl, drop in egg yolks and garlic. Whisk well for about one minute, to ensure the thickening agents in the yolk are activated.
- Combine both oils in a small bowl, and use a spoon (or a small measuring spoon) to allow one drop to fall into the egg yolks, then whisk in well. Add another drop and whisk in well again. Continue for about 1 tablespoon of oil, and you will notice the aioli begin to come together, become paler, and thicken up enough for the aioli to ribbon (if you lift the whisk, it will fall over itself and take time to level together).
- IF YOU POUR THE OIL TOO QUICKLY IT WILL BREAK AND WILL NOT THICKEN NO MATTER HOW MANY EGG YOLKS OR MUSTARD (AN EMULSIFIER) YOU ADD. YOU WILL HAVE TO START OVER.
- Once the aioli is becoming thick and pale (about the same viscosity of hollandaise sauce) you can whisk in more oil at a time. I do not suggest more than ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon at a time, as you can overwhelm the aioli and it can break.
- Continue adding the oil, and it will become thicker and thicker. If it becomes too thick (it will kind of look like an oily frosting) splash in a bit of lemon juice and whisk it in. Continue whisking in oil until all the oil is incorporated.
- Give the aioli a taste, and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
- Keep in an airtight container in the fridge, stays fresh for about 1 week.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 458
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Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.