Ever go to a tapas bar, order their plain potato salad and discover it tasted “to-die-for?” It’s the aioli! The same goes for Italy’s favorite, aioli pasta dishes, topped with grated Parmesan. Basically, it is a fresh, homemade garlic mayo sauce great on vegetables, fish, salads, on pasta or as a dip.
Aioli is made from an oil you prefer, fresh garlic ground into a paste. Make sure all aioli ingredients are at room temperature. It is important to point out, pre-peeled garlic or chopped garlic from a jar does not make good aioli. To the mashed garlic, whisk in a scant teaspoon of Gray Poupon mustard, then an egg yolk until blended. Continue by adding the acid, vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Next, slowly drizzle in a cup of oil, blending thoroughly until smooth after each addition. Add a couple of shakes of cayenne pepper, plus salt and black pepper to taste.
As is usually the case, different regions put their own spin onto aioli, usually influenced by local availability. Cooks in the West Indies, Caribbean region use bitter orange as instead of lemon juice.
Emulsions were very much an interest for all early chefs along the Mediterranean Riviera. Roughly you can think of France for aioli’s origination, Italy and its love of aioli with pasta and nearby, Spain, is where the emulsion, mayonnaise, was first said to be fashioned.
SELECTION & STORAGE
Do not use aioli as a sauce for fresh-water fish.
Aïoli will keep, refrigerated and covered, for up to 3 days.
SEARCH AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
- BLT sandwiches
- Boiled eggs
- Chipotle/adobo sauce
- Fish soup
- Green beans
- Mandarin orange
- Snails, clams
- Spanish patatas bravas
- Stuffed peppers
- White and green bean salad, tuna
Below are foodsites with variations on how to make aioli.