Monday, September 21, 2009

"A" Okay Aioli, and That's No Yolk

Aioli is an often-confused condiment. Now when I speak of "aioli" I am talking about the French version from Provence, not the Spanish, Portuguese or other variations on the same theme. The confusion comes from the two schools of thought on exactly WHAT aioli is.

The first group states that it is a simple emulsion of Garlic, Lemon Juice and Olive Oil. Unlike Mayonnaise, Aioli contains no eggs, (at least, it's not suppose to) as the garlic itself is capable of providing the emulsion power, and is always made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. No substitutions.

Enter Escoffier, the grandpappy of sauce classification, who deemed Aioli to be a small sauce that was built from Mayonnaise. Hmmmmm.... Even Larousse Gastronomique claims there is egg in Aioli. So suddenly Aioli has become nothing more than garlic flavored mayonnaise... Or has it?

True, you can add a ton of garlic to a cup of any insipid mayo and call it aioli. But it's still more than likely just "Garlic Mayonnaise". Don't get me wrong, that is all well and good, but it's not Aioli. What sets Aioli apart and makes it so unbelievably wonderful is the flavor combination of the Garlic, Lemon Juice and Extra Virgin Olive oil. So please, use an Olive oil that you love the flavor of, cause you are going to taste it.

Aioli is best served with fish and seafood, as well as steamed vegetables. It has a very strong flavor and, depending no the color of your olive oil, can have a slight green tinge to it. If you find this color disturbing or unappetizing, go ahead and add a second egg white at the end. The color will lighten significantly, without altering the flavor. So without further ramblings, here is the recipe for the Sauce Aioli that I use.

Sauce Aioli

6-8 gloves of garlic (or 10-12 cloves of roasted garlic)
1 1/4 tsp Sel Gris or Fleur de Sel; (Kosher salt will work, but you really need a coarse grain to help break down the garlic)
2 1/2 tsp Lemon juice
optional - 1 large Egg or 1 large Egg White (You can add an egg if you are worried that the sauce might break while mixing, but I don't,  unless I am using roasted garlic)
1/4 tsp White pepper, ground
3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil (Be it Tuscan, Kalamata from Greece or Spanish; your choice)

In a mortar and pestle, add salt and garlic together

and crush

into a smooth paste. (Do not use a wood mortar and pestle)

Move the salt and garlic mixture to a non-reactive bowl and whisk the Lemon Juice and White Pepper.

Add the egg (if using) and 1/4 cup of the olive oil and begin whisking until an emulsion begins to form, then slowly pour the remaining olive oil into the mixture in a thin stream while you continue whisking.... (OK, ya caught me) or stick blending. (A stick blender is your best friend when making Aioli)

The sauce should become pale and flowing, like a sauce.... not thick and spreadable like a Mayonnaise. (it will actually be kind of yellowish green)

Serve over steamed vegetables, crab cakes or poached fish.

What am I doing with the Aioli? You mean besides eating it with a spoon out of the bowl while sitting in the corner rocking back and forth and giggling happily to myself?

Stay tuned for tomorrows one last taste of Summer....



Dajana said...

I love your posts about all these home made sauces.
I hope one day you'll have a post about the Tartar sauce (it's my favourite)

Heather S-G said..., my spoon is sad and lonely.

Anonymous said...

I think I need some of Sheryl's crab cakes to go with some of YOUR sauce :D

Patti T. said...

Looking forward to seeing what your plans are for your aioli sauce.

DutchBakerGirl said...

Well, I had great success with your mayonnaise--even my family gobbles it up. So this one is going to be a winner, too!

Bob said...

Love your mortar and pestle. The aioli looks great, too!

Spryte said...

I've never tried aioli. That sounds good!

Unknown said...

I have a mortar and pestle just like that :). If you make this without the egg then you have tome. If it's got garlic in it, then its aaaaall good.

Anonymous said...

Your initial comments claim there are no eggs in classic Aoli - that is what I searched for - but the recipe calls for egg.

Shane T. Wingerd said...

Sorry for the confusion, there was a piece of information that was being blanked out somehow. The Egg, as well as the Egg White are both optional. I only use egg when I make aioli with roasted garlic because the roasting of the garlic affects it's ability to emulsify the oil.

Anonymous said...

How could this be made into red pepper aioli?

Die Groblers said...
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