Aïoli, Aïoli, Aïoli (and Rouille)

January 25, 2009

What garlic is to food, insanity is to art
~Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Aïoli, that luscious garlic mayonnaise, is a Provençal staple which enjoys almost boundless applications…gracing soups, adorning shellfish, awakening vegetables, accompanying grilled meats and spread on sandwiches. Here are three variations on a theme listed in no order of preference.

For optimal results, have all ingredients at room temperature for each recipe.

Aïoli I

4 plump, fresh garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 C extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Mash the garlic and salt together with a pestle in a warm mortar, forming a smooth paste.

Add the egg yolks and stir to thoroughly blend the garlic and yolks. Continue stirring and gradually add a few drops of the oil. Whisk until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. As soon as the mixture begins to thicken, while whisking vigorously, add the remaining oil in a slow, steady, thin stream.

Taste for seasoning, transfer to bowl and refrigerate.

Aïoli II

2 large egg yolks, room temperature
4 plump, fresh garlic cloves, minced then smashed to a paste with a pinch of sea salt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 T Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 C canola oil
½ C extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons heavy cream (or to desired consistency)
Sea salt to taste

A silkier version. Drop the egg yolks in a mixing bowl, then whisk in the garlic, lemon juice, mustard and cayenne. Slowly, gradually whisk in the combined canola and olive oils, first drop by drop and then in a slow, steady, thin stream. When the oils are incorporated, whisk in the cream.

Season with salt, cover and refrigerate.

Aïoli III

2 plump, fresh garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 T fresh lemon juice
3 T Dijon mustard
2 large eggs, room temperature

2 C extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the garlic, lemon juice, mustard and egg in a blender and blend until smooth, between 1 to 2 minutes. With the blender still running, slowly pour in the olive oil in a slow, steady thin stream until the sauce begins to thicken. Take care not to add too much oil in the beginning as the aïoli will not emulsify. The aïoli should be the consistency of a smooth, creamy mayonnaise.

Season with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate.

Rouille

For a spicy variation on each of the recipes above, just before you slowly pour in the olive oil in a slow, steady, thin stream, add:

1/2 t saffron threads
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 t tomato paste

Then complete the remainder of the recipe.

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