Cooking Lessons 101 – Aioli

This isn’t so much a recipe as it is an absolutely essential piece of skill for any budding chef. The ability to make your own mayonnaise is one of the first things they teach you in Culinary School and it is something that has influences right across the full spectrum of egg based sauces. It involves making an emulsion of egg yolks and then thickening that with sunflower oil or olive oil.

But that all sounds rather boring doesn’t it? What I want to show you is how you get that incredibly creamy, rich texture we all love from really great mayo but is no-where to be found in a jar of Hellman’s. So many people (myself included) never liked mayo but instantly changed as soon as they realized that what that had been eating was not, in fact, mayo.

This is a simple recipe that will give you a fantastic, flavourful accompaniment to anything from sandwiches to chips to salad dressings. I guarantee, once you try this, you will never look back.

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2 Egg Yolks
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 Lemon
500ml Sunflower Oil
100ml Olive Oil

-Mix your two oils together in a jug.
-As finely as you can, chop up the garlic.
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-Sprinkle a little salt over the garlic and then crush it with the side of your knife to puree it.
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-In a large mixing bowl, crack in your two egg yolks. Keep the whites to make meringues later.
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-Add in the garlic and the juice from half of the lemon. Reserve the other half for seasoning later.
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-Using a large, balloon whisk, beat together the eggs, garlic and lemon.
-Now this is the tricky part. Resting your bowl securely on a tea-towel or something similar, start to whisk the egg mixture with one hand. With the other hand, begin to very slowly pour your oil into the bowl. This should be no more than a trickle.
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-Keep whisking the mixture vigorously. It should start to thicken fairly quickly as you add in the oil bit by bit. If it looks like the oil isn’t combining with the eggs, stop pouring it in and whisk like there is no tomorrow. Whisk until your arm hurts. Whisk until your arm stops hurting and feels like it is going to fall off and then keep whisking after that. This will bring it back together.
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-After you have added about half of the oil you can start to add it in a little faster as the emulsion becomes more stable. Also pop in the second half of the lemon juice.
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-Once you have added in all of the oil and whisked it all well you can taste it for seasoning.
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-Could it do with a little extra mustard or lemon? Also test the consistency, sometimes aioli can become pretty thick, if you aren’t happy with it just add a little water and combine until you get the texture you are looking for.

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This recipe can sometimes be a little tricky but the pay-off is totally worth it. Being able to whip up your own mayo at a moment’s notice is a pretty impressive skill to have and once you start mixing up your own flavour combinations you will never, ever stop.


2 thoughts on “Cooking Lessons 101 – Aioli”

  1. I recently learned that aioli is traditionally just garlic and olive oil mashed and mixed really well… Interesting, no? And totally agree – once you try he homemade stuff the store bought variety seems like a different condiment altogether.

    1. Really? Wow I never realized that. But I can totally see that. Like someone trying to Americanize the recipe and making it a bit more palatable and approachable to innocent non adventurous people by just mixing it with mayo 😛 So interesting.

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