Salsa Alioli (Garlic Mayonnaise)

This wickedly delicious garlic mayonnaise originated in Catalonia and quickly spread throughout Spain. In its purest form, this sauce would never be made with egg yolk - only olive oil, garlic and salt - however, it is easier to achieve the emulsion at home by using the yolk, and I like the creamy texture it gives. Aioli is a quintessential sauce and is such a wonderful accompaniment to almost anything including roast beef and other cold meats or vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus or poached leeks. It's also amazing as a sauce for olive oil-fried seafood, like tender calamari, and is delicious drizzled over young lamb chops, roasted chicken, grilled fish and seafood, such as lobster grilled on the half shell. For a decadent occasion, add an additional clove of garlic to the recipe and a little extra lemon juice, and toss hot olive oil-fried potatoes (in chunks) with the aioli. Sprinkle a pinch of cayenne or paprika on top or spoon a dollop of sundried tomato paste on top and serve.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 10 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Yield: 2 3/4 cups, 6 servings
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Ingredients

3 large cloves garlic, germs removed

2 pinches sea salt

2 egg yolks

2 1/4 cups Spanish olive oil (not virgin)

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste

1 to 2 tablespoons hot water

Directions

  1. Pound and crush the garlic with a pinch of salt to a paste in a mortar, or chop finely using the flat part of your knife to crush the garlic and salt into a smooth paste. This may take a few minutes but it is essential that the garlic is perfectly smooth and that no chunks remain before starting to make the aioli. Transfer to a bowl, add the egg yolks and whisk to blend. Still whisking, slowly pour in a quarter of the olive oil, a few drops at a time, until the sauce starts to acquire some body, and then pour in the rest of the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, until it becomes a creamy thick sauce. To finish, add in the lemon juice, plus an extra squeeze of lemon juice to taste, and the hot water. Stir well and serve. If not serving right away, store in the refrigerator and consume within 2 days. 

Cook’s Note

Ensure all of your ingredients are at room temperature to make this recipe. If you want to tame the flavor of raw garlic, blanch the garlic for a couple of minutes in boiling water or you can substitute sweet smoky roasted garlic, instead of raw. You can also add almost anything to flavor this aioli, like fresh herbs, other citrus juice, olive tapenade, sundried tomato paste, grainy mustard, miso paste (omit the salt in the recipe, if using miso) and even brandy.

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