A healthy dose of garlic gives this aioli recipe its punch. Aioli (pronounced "ay-OH-lee") is a tangy emulsified sauce that's similar to mayonnaise but is made with olive oil instead of ordinary vegetable oil.
As such, you will do well to use a very good olive oil. Consider for a moment the fact that you might plausibly spend upwards of $25 on a bottle of wine, and quaff it in a single evening.
What I'm suggesting is that you establish your upper limit — the most you would ever spend on a bottle of wine — and then establish that as your baseline for how much you spend on a bottle of olive oil. When you consider that it will last far longer than a single night, it's not really so outrageous.
A couple things to look for. A dark bottle, since exposure to light, is one of the causes of rancidity. It drives me crazy when I go to the store and see bottles of olive oil on the shelf and the shelf has those long fluorescent light tubes built in, just bombarding the oil all day long.
Another thing that can spoil your olive oil is heat. So store it in a dark place, away from your stove. So-called olio nuovo, which is made from early harvest olives, is a completely different league. But if you're making your own aioli, you will absolutely taste the difference.
I love to serve aioli as a sandwich spread or dip, and it can also be served atop grilled meat or fish. For a real treat, try it with French fries.
When you're making an emulsified sauce or dressing, it's a good idea to let your ingredients (in this case, the eggs) sit out at room temperature for a while before you start. It's more difficult for the emulsion to form if the ingredients are cold.
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 pint of extra virgin olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tsp lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
- Let all your ingredients come to room temperature before you begin.
- In a small glass bowl, mash the garlic and the salt together until they form a paste.
- Add the egg yolks and whisk vigorously until the mixture is smooth. Note: You can use an electric hand mixer, stand mixer or even a blender for this.
- Now, with the mixer or blender going full speed (or with your arm whisking as hard as it can) add the olive oil very slowly, as little as a drop at a time.
- When the emulsion starts to form, you can add the oil more quickly, but keep it at a fairly moderate stream. Adding the oil too fast will break your emulsion.
- When the aioli thickens, add a bit more lemon juice to thin it out. Continue adding oil, stopping occasionally to add more lemon if the mixture gets too thick.
- Finish the aioli with the remaining lemon juice, both to add a bit of tang as well as to achieve the right consistency.
- Store unused aioli in the refrigerator, in a dark container, tightly sealed, where it should keep for a day or two.