Saturday, January 16, 2010

Aioli (Garlic Mayonnaise)

This mayonnaise/dip is NOT for the faint-hearted. Its assertive garlic flavour is wonderful for those who are enamoured of the bulb. Since I used olive oil, that flavour is also pronounced. I like it with fresh vegetables, crudités, as they serve it in Provence. A true Provençal would probably turn up his or her nose at my version because I added some fresh parsley and a little lemon juice to the sauce. This would probably not be the best thing to serve for a romantic dinner or picnic, unless all parties partake.


6 large fresh garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (you can use a milder oil, or combination of oils if you don't want the olive flavour too pronounced)
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Peel and cut the garlic cloves in half, then remove the green, sprout-like "germ" that runs lengthwise through the center of the garlic. In a mortar, place the garlic and salt, and mash them together with the pestle until a paste forms. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, use the flat side of a knife and a cutting board to smash the salt and garlic into a paste. Don't use a food processor or blender or it might turn out gluey.

Add one egg yolk to the paste. You may need to transfer this to a bowl if your mortar is small, as mine is. Stir the yolk and the paste evenly until the yolk is fully incorporated. Add the second yolk in the same manner.

Very slowly, with a whisk, add the oil, just a drop or two at a time, whisking until the mixture thickens. After about 1/3 of the oil is added you can trickle in the rest of the oil, still whisking constantly until the sauce is thickened. It will be quite thick - moreso than a commercial mayonnaise.

Lastly, whisk in the parsley and lemon juice.

Serve with fresh vegetables as a dip, or smear on fish before baking. Spread on a sandwich this would add real character to whatever you're eating.
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