No matter what you might think about the French, you can’t argue with the fact that they know how to cook. Aioli is thought to have originated in Provence, France although I also came across a post at CliffordAWright.com that states that the first mention of anything resembling aioli dates back to Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23-79). No matter where aioli’s origins lie, it is absolutely heavenly…providing, of course, that you like garlic. And mayonnaise. But it’s more than just adding some garlic to mayo.
Aioli is basically a garlic mayonnaise and can be easily transformed into many flavored varieties by adding other herbs and spices. Some recipes call for dijon mustard, which I think would kick up the spice factor…raw garlic is rather spicy on its own.
There are many aioli recipes and techniques documented out there on the web…I read several, watched a few videos, then headed to the kitchen to try out a lovely granite mortar and pestle, a gift from my mother in law. I had wanted one specifically to make aioli, although you can use a food processor or an immersion blender. Being somewhat of a traditionalist in nature, at least when it comes to foodie type things, I of course wanted to do it the traditional way. A mortar and pestle are also very handy for crushing spices and herbs so I’m sure I will put it to good use throughout the year.
If you’ve never made mayonnaise before, I must warn you that it can be kind of tricky. You have to start out adding the oil S-L-O-W-L-Y…as in drop by drop for the first tablespoon, then in a thin stream after that, constantly whisking (if using a whisk) or stirring the pestle in the mortar. I’ve made blender mayonnaise and it’s really very tasty, especially when you have delicious, fresh, pastured eggs. This is the first time I’ve made mayo by hand, and honestly, it wasn’t that hard.
FIRST…make sure your ingredients and utensils are all at room temperature.
Cut the end off the garlic cloves and peel them by whacking them with the flat side of your nice big chef’s knife…or whatever method you prefer for peeling garlic. I like whacking them, myself. Mince the garlic and add it to your mortar, along with a generous pinch or two of salt.
I didn’t really mince the garlic, just kind of gave it a good chopping…but in retrospect I should have taken the time to mince. You can also use a garlic press…I have one, I just didn’t want to wash it. The salt, by the way, helps to break down the garlic and make it into a paste so you really don’t want to omit it. If you use a healthy sea salt or mineral-rich salt such as the Pink Himalayan, it’s much better for your ticker than regular old table salt.
Using the pestle, begin grinding the garlic and salt together slowly until it forms a paste. This is somewhat time consuming, but if you mince your garlic or use a press it will not take as long as it did for me. You’ll have to keep brushing the garlic bits back down into the mortar at first, but then it will make a nice, smoothish paste that clings to the side of the mortar.
Next, add your egg yolk. Give it a good whirl around the mortar for about a minute.
Some people say to add the lemon juice later, some now. One video I watched said the acid in the lemon juice essentially “cooks” the egg yolk. I added it at this point, next time I will try adding it later and see if it makes a difference.
- 1/2 c olive oil, approximately
- 1 egg yolk, preferably from pastured hens
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2-1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/8-1/4 tsp coarse salt, such as Pink Himalayan
- Peel and mince garlic
- Add garlic and salt to bowl of mortar
- Using pestle, slowly grind the salt and garlic until it forms a paste
- Add egg yolk and mix well with pestle
- Add lemon juice and mix well with pestle
- Begin adding olive oil SLOWLY, one drop at a time, then slowly increase. Stop if oil begins to pool until it is emulsified, then continue adding oil until you reach the desired consistency
- Taste and add more salt and lemon juice, if desired
"Active Time" is approximate.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Cholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g