Homemade aioli (that's French for "garlic mayonnaise") is easier to whip up than you may think: you simply need to add the oil very slowly at first to get the emulsion of the egg and the oil started. There are two methods outlined below: the blender method and the whisk method. The blender method is faster and "easier" since you're not physically whisking it, but can also separate easier, so watch carefully. The whisk method may take a bit more effort, but it gives you the most control over adding the oil and the final texture of the aioli.
Use aioli as a dip for grilled or steamed vegetables, dollop it on simply cooked fish, or eat it by the spoonful (maybe that's not a great idea in terms of nutrition, but it is delicious!).
- Whirl the egg, lemon juice, garlic, and mustard in a blender to combine.
- With blender running on a low speed, drip the oil in slowly, allowing each addition to incorporate into the egg mixture before adding more. As more oil is incorporated, you can add the oil more quickly, working up to a slow stream.
- As you add the oil, the mixture will thicken. It's actually pretty crazy how it goes from a liquidy mix of beaten egg into a creamy-looking spread.
- Season to taste with salt. If it's terribly thick, you can thin it a bit with drops of lemon juice. Don't try to thin it with more oil, it will actually make it thicker. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to two days.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, lemon juice, garlic, and mustard.
- Set the bowl on a silicone oven pad or wrap the bottom of the bowl in a kitchen towel to hold the bowl still on the counter without having to hold it.
- Whisking constantly, add the oil, drop by drop, allowing each addition to incorporate into the egg mixture before adding more. As more oil is incorporated, you can add the oil more in a stream.
- Season to taste with salt. Whisk in more lemon juice (a drop at a time) to taste, or use the lemon juice to thin the aioli, if needed (it may be counter-intuitive, but adding more oil with thicken, not thin the mixture once it starts to thicken, and adding too much oil will break the mixture). Serve the aioli immediately, or cover and chill for up to two days.
If the Aioli Breaks:
If the aioli separates and goes from being creamy and yummy to looking more like the egg-and-oil combo that it is, there's an easy way to save the day: start all over with a fresh egg and a few tablespoons of oil; once you get the emulsion working, use the broken version as the rest of the oil.
Note: The garlic taste will get stronger as the aioli sits; make ahead, and keep it covered and chilled, with that fact in mind.