Homemade Aïoli is a super creamy emulsified sauce blended with just the right amount of garlic. Try this condiment on roasted potatoes or French fries, in wraps, on sandwiches…the possibilities are endless!
There are some recipes that need to be in every cook’s repertoire and homemade aïoli is one of them. Store bought aïoli sauce just isn’t the same. This versatile sauce is creamy, spreadable, and oh, so garlicky.
This is one sauce that, once it hits the table, it’s nearly impossible to resist finishing the whole bowl. You’ll probably find yourself making another batch of fries JUST so you can have more aïoli. It’s that good.
Furthermore EVERYONE must have some, or else the ‘resistor’ will be smelling everyone’s garlic breath for the rest of the night. If everyone takes part, no one need be embarrassed.
What is Aïoli?
You may be thinking to yourself, ‘What the heck is this fancy sounding sauce and why would I want to make it at home?” Well, you may be more familiar with aïoli by its other name, garlic mayonnaise.
Aïoli is an emulsified sauce that may or may not contain eggs. However, it is much easier to emulsify with eggs (egg yolks only or whole egg).
The impressive sounding name really just means ‘garlic’ and ‘oil’ in Catalan/Valencian and Provençal. So, when people call it ‘garlic aïoli’, they are really doubling up on the garlic!
This originally Mediterranean sauce is commonplace in the coastal regions of Spain, in Provence (France), Greece, and in Italy (Calabria, Sicily). These eggless versions consist of garlic crushed with salt and extra virgin olive oil using a mortar and pestle.
Eggless aïoli recipes rely on the tiny drops of oil from the garlic for emulsification, so they tend to be pastier and more granular instead of light and creamy.
Of course something this tasty eventually became popular in the new world, especially once immersion blenders were invented. Americanized versions often contain additional flavours such as lemon.
Ingredients in Homemade Aïoli
This recipe requires a whole egg, along with the oil to give it that ultra creamy texture. Other than that, the ingredients are pretty basic. There are no fancy tricks here.
- Dijon Mustard
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
Seven common ingredients. Ten minutes. This is one easy, tasty sauce, especially when you use quality ingredients like fresh free run eggs.
Since garlic is the most dominant flavour in the homemade aïoli, this recipe calls for the best quality garlic available. Try to use new fresh tasting garlic cloves instead of old, stale cloves to make this sauce. Don’t even think about using minced garlic in a jar!
Similarly, please use fresh lemon juice as it will add the best flavour to the aïoli.
Dijon mustard is one of those ‘extra’ additions to aioli recipes and it’s one of the most common French variations. It adds a little more zip to the overall flavour and aids in emulsification.
Which Oil Should I Use When Making Aïoli?
The best oil for this recipe is light and neutral tasting. Think EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), canola oil, or sunflower oil. These three oils are most easily incorporated into the other ingredients.
What Exactly is an Emulsion?
I keep on talking about emulsification, and incorporation but what do these terms really mean? Caution: Food nerd at work here!
Emulsification is the suspension of tiny oil droplets in a mixture. In the case of aioli, these minute droplets are completely surrounded by ‘water’ or more accurately lemon juice.
The oil in water emulsion is then stabilized by the solids (emulgents) in the mustard and by the egg yolk lecithin. They will keep the aïoli from de-stabilizing and separating.
How to Make Homemade Aïoli
Now that we know a bit about the science behind an emulsion, let’s apply it to this super easy recipe. The easiest way to make the quickest aïoli is by using an immersion blender, or stick blender.
Add all of the ingredients; egg, egg yolk, salt and pepper, Dijon mustard, chopped garlic and lemon juice (not the oil!) to a tall narrow container or jar.
Pulse the ingredients a few times with the blender so that they are well mixed. Then, with the motor running, begin to slowly drizzle in the oil. The oil stream can be slightly separated drops or just a tiny bit more, but not a full on pour.
Continue adding the oil until the sauce reaches a creamy consistency and all the oil is incorporated fully. The whole process should take less than 15 minutes and only 10 minutes once you have a bit of practice.
Of course, you can also make this sauce using an old fashioned whisk and elbow grease!
Using Your Homemade Aïoli
Your imagination is the limit here…imagine this aïoli as the base for a potato or macaroni salad! The most common use for this creamy sauce is for French fry dipping but imagine how delicious it would be on roasted potatoes or vegetables.
Pep up a toasted BLT sandwich, slather it onto an Italian sub, or use it on a hamburger. Go a step farther and spread it on the outside of two slices of bread and grill them up for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.
In Provence, this delicious condiment is served alongside hard boiled eggs, raw and cooked vegetables and cooked shrimp or fish in a dish called le grand aïoli. Other Provençal aïoli dishes served on important feast days include Bulots à l’aïoli (with snails), and bourride (fish soup).
How Long Does Homemade Aïoli Keep?
If your homemade aïoli is well emulsified, it should not separate as it sits. If it does separate, just give it a quick stir before using.
When properly stored in the refrigerator, aïoli with raw eggs should keep for a maximum of four days. Remember that once it is mixed into other foods, such as a potato salad, or slathered onto a sandwich, it must be consumed immediately (or refrigerated).
Note that the garlic flavour will intensify the longer the sauce sits. So if you are making it the day before, adjust the amount of garlic accordingly. Or not!
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