Oh Aioli!

The Fearless Cooking Club challenge for March are eggs. Eggs are so spring-like and so versatile. You can use just the yolk, the whites or both. Eggs can be whipped, sautéed, baked, scrambled, fried, poached, boiled, and emulsified and be put into almost any dish. And eggs are everywhere these days. The March edition of Cooking Light  focused on comfort foods had a fried egg on top of many recipes. And on Worst Cooks in America, Chef Anne Burrell had the contestants pattern a diner dish she made with French Fries a cheese sauce and a fried egg atop.

Last summer I was was watching From Spain with Love  on The Cooking Channel when I saw a chef make garlic mayonnaise with an immersion blender. The concoction was whipped together in less than a minute. I was flabbergasted that this blender could be used for more than pureeing soup in a pot. So I knew I had to have one.

I did get an immersion blender for Christmas and I love it. And because my inspiration was aioli I had to make it for this egg challenge. Aioli  (alhòli) comes from Provençal alh ‘garlic’ (< Latin allium) + òli ‘oil’ (< Latin oleum) = garlic oil.

As with my last challenge of making macarons which had four ingredients, the key was to master the technique for a fabulous end product; aioli is the same, all about technique.

I scoured cookbooks and websites on how to make aioli and oh my goodness there are a lot of versions. As a result I went through a lot of garlic, olive oil and eggs. I bet I made 5-6 batches of aioli.

I started with Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking I and II. Julia had several aioli recipe versions which were all to be whipped by hand. She started with a piece of stale bread soaked in milk and combined the garlic and salt with a mortar and pestle. She then added the eggs and hand whipped all the while slowly drizzing in 1 -1 1/2 cups of olive oil.

Then I moved onto the internet and watched videos of hand whipping and immersion blender techniques of making aioli. I took the techniques from each chef and incorporated them into what would work for me. Finally, I found the recipe that tasted the best and would allow me to use my immersion blender.  The Wishful Chef Homemade Garlic Mayonnaise recipe was perfect and the right combination for me.

Patty’s Points on Technique:

1. Eggs. Okay yes mayonnaise uses raw egg yolks at room temperature. If you are squeamish make sure you: a) buy fresh eggs, b) wash the exterior shell, and c) coddle the egg. To coddle an egg for this recipe you place the whole egg in shell into a pot of boiling water for one minute. Remove the egg, crack  and separate the yolk from the partially cooked white.

2. Oil. Most of the recipes I read said not to use extra virgin olive oil but you use regular olive oil. Many recipes also advised to use two kinds of oil, like olive oil with cannola or grape seed oil to temper the strong taste of olive oil.

3. Garlic. The garlic clove must be minced and mashed into a past with the salt to extract the garlic oils. I saw techniques using a good chopping knife or a mortar and pestle. I used the knife method and it took awhile to mash it into a paste. I will probably invest in a mortar and pestle because it probably would’ve been easier.

4. Temperature. All the ingredients must be at room temperature or slightly warmed for the emulsion of liquid to mayonnaise to occur.

5. Taste. The unfortunate part of making mayonnaise is that you really can’t tell what it tastes like until it is completed. My second batch had great texture, but it tasted bad so I threw it out. I made a cilantro aioli (in the picture above) that called for 1/4 cup of lime juice. That much lime juice overpowered the recipe and gave it a harsh taste. I couldn’t taste the garlic, oil or cilantro.

6. Serving. This was probably my biggest challenge. I made a condiment and what do I serve it with? Below is a picture of my first batch which tasted good but was really runny. I served it with asparagus and panko crusted shrimp. Julia Child served aioli by placing it into a Garlic Soup or a Fish Stew. The Fish Stew was very good, the Garlic Soup was a little too thin of a broth for my tastes. I’ve also seen recipes that put it on sandwiches, just like any old mayonnaise, but more flavorful.

Today I may serve my aioli with a vegetable or sweet potato chips as in the picture above or with some fresh asparagus and just use it as a dip.

Fearless but exhausted over making mayonnaise.

My next post will be the pictures of the Fearless Cookers dishes at the Eggs-travaganza Dinner.

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9 thoughts on “Oh Aioli!

  1. Oh my, I had no idea this much went into making aioli. And you made six batches? Wow! I like the tip you shared for getting room temperature yolks, because I did get squeamish with that one 🙂

    I love garlic and have had this on sandwiches – very good with turkey!

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  2. I am so done with mayo 😦 but I am so glad you liked my post 🙂 I think I over thought the whole process. Too much research. By the way, after you make the aioli it is good in the refrigerator for about 5 days. I hope you get the chance to make it since it is a favorite of yours.

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  3. Absolutely love FSWL. And I always wondered about aioli and how to make it (and where to use it.) The garlic mayo? This i must try. I am thinking thinly sliced beef (London broil?) on foccacia, slathered with garlic mayo and a nice slice of tomato.

    Looking forward to the egg-stavangaza!

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  4. I don’t really like eggs eggs. but they are virtually in everything (Esp in desserts..) that I can’t say I can live without them.

    Garlic aoili sounds wonderful (so perfect with panko crusted shrimps too!) a homemade aoili beats a storebought one any day!I will use my immersion blender for this.. thanks for the timely reminder.

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  5. Actually aioli is quite versatile. I saw a Cooking Light version that used no eggs whatsoever. The cilantro aioli actually turned out okay after all. It needed to sit in the refrigerator for all the ingredients to meld together. It tasted great. I also noticed that the more egg yolks added thickens the consistency.

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  6. My satellite carrier subscription only lets me see The Cooking Channel about 4 times a year. I miss FSWL and a few other shows on TCC.

    Aioli is pretty versatile, I think that is why I saw so many versions and techniques out in the world of the internet. It does sound good on roast beef sandwich. Enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

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