Aioli is one of those essential food accessories that can take your dish to the next level. Smeared, dipped or drizzled, this homemade mayo can really make the difference. The typical ingredients will depend on the recipe’s region of the world and your imagination, but the basic French version is oil, garlic and egg combined into a creamy emulsion. This simple but game changing food, while containing only a handful of ingredients, can occasionally prove to be a bit temperamental. Egg temperature, amount of oil and size of the stream of oil added to the egg can all affect your success. Although traditionally begun in a mortar and pestle, with the oil slowly hand whisked into the egg, some other less labor intensive methods are available. But from the blender method to the food processor method, and back to hand whisked, most chefs have experienced some broken attempts at aioli where the egg does not emulsify with the oil and your efforts result in a liquid sauce that separates and ends up down the drain.
Enter the hand immersion blender. With mixed results using regular blenders and food processors and resigned to the sweat and tears of hand whisking, I happened upon a post for foolproof aioli from Serious Eats (Two Minute Aioli Recipe http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/01/two-minute-foolproof-aioli-recipe.html). I have since retired my aioli whisk and grown to love my hand immersion blender even more!
Here is my basic Immersion Blender Aioli Recipe:
1 egg yolk
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon water
1 very small peeled garlic clove
1 cup neutral flavored oil ( such as Canola or Pure Olive Oil – not Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 tall and narrow container
1 Hand Immersion Blender
Add the one egg yolk, one tablespoon water and juice of half a lemon to the bottom of the tall and narrow container.
Pour in 1 cup of oil.
Place the immersion blender down into the bottom of the container.Turn on your immersion blender and wait for clouds of aioli to appear under the oil. As the aioli clouds grow, gently move the blender very slightly up and down, and finally to the top to blend in the remaining oil.
Squeeze and mix the garlic into the aioli using a garlic press or add crushed garlic (rough chop the clove and then sprinkle with a good pinch of salt before mashing it with your knife into a paste).
Season aioli with salt to taste.
A few key observations for this recipe:
Make sure your container is narrow enough so that the head of the immersion blender fits down into it and covers most of the container’s bottom.
Add the oil by pouring it down the side of the container so that it slides in and lands on top of the egg mixture and doesn’t enter into it.
Use a neutral tasting oil (canola or pure olive oil) for the majority of the oil. Stay away from Extra Virgin Olive Oil as your main oil ingredient because it creates a bitter taste in your aioli. If you want to get creative top off the last 1/4 of your cup of oil with a flavored oil (such as lemon or basil olive oil) – or this is where you can use your Extra Virgin Olive Oil and add it to the last 1/8th of your cup of neutral oil. You can also add a pinch of spices or a teaspoon of mustard as you like.
If your aioli is too thick for your application (such as drizzling), you can always mix it with a little water to make it thinner. After your aioli has been sitting in the refrigerator, pull it out when ready to use and taste it. Flavors can mellow a bit and you can adjust the brightness by mixing in a little more lemon juice or salt as needed.
You’ll have delicious and easy to make aioli in minutes. Use it in salad dressings, on your burgers and sandwiches, drizzled over shellfish or fries or as a dip for just about anything (bread, veggies…the list goes on and on!).
Be sure to keep it in the refrigerator and remember it is made with raw egg. The general consensus for the length of time it will keep in the refrigerator seems to be just under one week, but I would recommend to use it within 2-3 days.