Aioli is a lovely, creamy, garlicky dip that is fantastic with fish, meat, vegetables and fried potatoes. Basically, it’s posh mayonnaise. You might have bought a jar of it from the supermarket, but did you know you can make your own?
Aioli has the reputation of being tricky to make, but it’s not. The vital ingredient when making aioli is patience. If you’ve got this, then by following our guide on how to make aioli you’ll end up with great garlicky mayonnaise every time.
- ¾ cup of olive oil. While it must be olive oil, and not some other variety of vegetable oil, you don’t want an olive oil that tastes too strong. Look for an olive oil that has a delicate aroma.
- 2 egg yolks.
- 1 dessertspoon of French mustard.
- 1 teaspoon of white vinegar (wine vinegar is best, but you can also use the more common sort).
- ½ teaspoon of salt.
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice.
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, finely ground.
- 2 cloves of garlic (more or less depending on how garlicky you like your aioli).
You can make aioli using a hand whisk and bowl, an electric hand-held mixer, or a food processor. The process is pretty much the same whatever equipment you use.
- Crush the garlic well and stir it into your olive oil.
- Place the egg yolks in a bowl (or food processor).
- Add mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper and whisk together until blended.
- Now comes the patience part. Add just a teaspoon of the olive oil to the mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined – the mixture will be frothy and there shouldn’t be any oil visible.
- Repeat this process several times. It sounds laborious, but it isn’t really and by going slowly at first you’ll reduce the chances of your egg and oil mixture separating. Adding too much oil at once is a recipe for disaster when making aioli.
- Once your mixture gets thicker you can start to trickle the rest of the oil in, whisking as you do so. Remember, go slowly.
By the time all the oil has been used you should have a the kind of thick, glossy dip you’ve seen in fancy restaurants – except yours will taste better!
If Disaster Strikes
If you do go a little too quickly with the oil and cause your mixture to separate don’t panic. Just take another bowl, put an egg yolk in it and then whisk in your separated mixture along with any oil you have left. The fresh yolk will re-emulsify your aioli.
Once you’ve learned how to make aioli and have a few batches under your belt, you can start experimenting with additional flavours. Try substituting lime juice for lemon juice. Add a few pinches of cayenne pepper for a fiery aioli. Ground Italian herbs will give your aioli an authentic rustic taste…
Practice Makes Perfect
The balance of flavours in aioli is a personal preference and you may find you like less salt and more garlic, or maybe the sharper tang a little more vinegar would bring… Whatever your particular likes, once you’ve learnt how to make aioli you’ll never look at those pale imitations on the supermarket shelves again.
To learn more about making aioli check out this video.