Aioli (garlicky home-made mayonnaise)

aioli with green beans

 

I make aioli starting in the spring when asparagus and snap peas show up. I love dipping blanched vegetables in it and making egg salad with aioli or spreading it thickly on toast and topping with whatever else I have on hand, until the tomatoes arrive and then it’s tomatoes and cucumbers . . . and then green beans and artichokes get dipped. I sometimes plenty of basil or chives or parsley and tarragon. I thin it out to make salad dressings, top halves of hard-boiled eggs with it for a fake deviled egg. It’s also perfect on a simply cooked piece of fish, chicken or any meat.

 

Yields about 1 1/2 cups

 

2 egg yolks (preferably organic)

2-5 cloves  garlic (start with the smaller amount if you’re uncertain and it does get stronger as it sits) or 2 stalks green garlic (the immature garlic that looks like a green onion and can be used as such, green parts too, minced finely).

2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard (optional)

about 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white wine or champagne vinegar, start with a bit less and adjust to taste, at the end

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup neutral oil like sunflower oil

1/2 cup good-tasting olive oil (not too bitter or strong or the aioli will have a bitter taste)

 

Mash garlic to a paste with salt (either in mortar and pestle or with a knife ). Put garlic in a medium-sized bowl. Add the egg yolks, mustard (if using) and 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice and some pepper. Whisk well. Then start adding the olive oil drip by drip or in a very thin stream at first. You’ll need to incorporate about 1/4 cup of oil like this before you can safely speed things up. This is the most important step in ensuring that it properly emulsifies and doesn’t break. Incorporate the rest of the olive oil and neutral tasting oil (it can get too bitter if you use just olive oil) and adjust seasoning with more lemon and/or salt. The more oil you incorporate the thicker it gets, however, at some point it can’t hold any more oil and can break.

 

You can also make it in a food processor and you will end up with a slightly stiffer/denser texture–also good just a little different. For the food processor version follow the process above but just feed the oil through the feeder tube while the machine is running.

 

Aioli keeps in the fridge for about 4-5 days and it does get a bit stronger as it sits.

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