Garlic Aïoli

For some folks aïoli is considered a sauce. It’s quite popular in the south of France where there is an abundance of garlic and olive oil. The word garlic in French is Ail and oil is a derivative of oli so aïoli literally translates to garlic oil. 

Since there are so few ingredients in aïoli it’s important that each is le meilleur (the best). Seek out the freshest, organic, free-range eggs. The olive oil can be fruity or peppery or a combination but again use the best you can afford. The same holds truth for Dijon mustard. As always though, use what you like and bring joy to your taste buds.

Once you’ve made this delicious sauce, there’s nothing better than to serve it with perfectly steamed vegetables, and/or broiled fish. That was lunch at a bistro in Lyon where I fell in love with this sauce all over again. And, I would never turn down a cone of piping hot pommes frites and a ramekin of this “garlic oil.”

YIELD: Makes about 1/2 cup

1 – 2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt plus more as needed to your taste
1 large egg yolk, fresh and organic is preferred
1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard (optional)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup excellent-quality, extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Freshly ground white pepper

Mince and mash garlic to a smooth paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy chef’s knife. Set aside.

Wrap a damp kitchen towel around a medium bowl to hold in place. Whisk together the egg yolk, garlic, and mustard (if including) in the bowl. Add a few drops of oil at a time to the yolk mixture, whisking constantly during each addition, until all of the oil is incorporated, and mixture is emulsified. (If at any point the mixture begins to separate, stop adding oil and continue whisking until the mixture comes together, then resume adding oil.)

After incorporating all the oil whisk in about a teaspoon of the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Taste and then continue adding the lemon juice to your liking. If aïoli is still too thick, whisk in 1 or 2 drops of water. Transfer aïoli to a small bowl, cover, and keep chilled until you are ready to enjoy it.

 Cooks’ Note:
*Raw egg is not recommended for infants, the elderly, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems or people who don’t like raw eggs. But they won’t have to forgo this aioli altogether. Instead use pasteurized egg yolk.

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