Monday, July 20, 2009

Aioli is Ai-mazing

I have discovered the elixir of life: aioli!

Aioli is a garlicky, mayonnaise-like concoction whose main ingredients are traditionally olive oil, garlic, blood, sweat, and tears.

To say I have discovered it is a lie; I think it was very trendy in the late 90s. But I made it for the first time, and discovered there is an easy way to make it that doesn't involve stirring -- ahem, "emulsifying" -- until your arm falls off. The secret lies in the blender.

Now, if you are a baby or expecting one, don't use this method, as it mandates a raw egg. Alas, you must go the traditional mortar and pestle route, which I'm sure is at least as satisfying, if you are willing to put in the time and elbow grease. The vegans will also want to follow the sore forearm method. I'm pretty sure most vegans I know would elect to go this route anyway, egg or no egg -- they are such masochists!

Whatever your creed or condition, you must make this NOW. I served it at a barbecue, to rave reviews. It was perfect spread over some homemade bread, topped with tomatoes and herbs. I also stirred it into chicken salad in lieu of regular mayonnaise, which now seems so unexciting compared to aioli that I'm not sure I'll ever eat it again.

Recipe: Quick Aioli
Adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook. Makes about 1 cup.

1/4 c coarsely chopped garlic (about 8-10 cloves)
1 t salt
2 T olive oil, plus 1 c olive oil
1 egg

In a mortar and pestle, or in a bowl using a fork, mash together the garlic, salt and 2 T olive oil for a few minutes. Add to the blender, and blend till fairly smooth, then add the egg and blend again for a few seconds. On a low setting, slowly pour the remaining 1 c olive oil into the blender in a steady, thin stream (assuming your blender has a removable cap that you can use without making a huge mess -- if not, use the next recipe). It may taste incredibly pungent at first, but will mellow out a bit after a little while. Keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days.

Recipe: Slow Aioli (Vegan)
Adapted from the Gourmet Cookbook. Use the same ingredients for Quick Aioli, minus the egg, and a large mortar and pestle, if you have one, or a medium-size bowl. Mash together the garlic, salt, and 2 T olive oil. Add the remaining cup of olive oil, one teaspoon at a time, whisking vigorously upon each addition. This should take about 20 minutes and will build good forearm muscles.

3 comments:

Mike Hernandez said...

This blog is Ai-mazing!

Mike said...

it's true, that aioli was amazing. i want some more--right now!

DEO said...

Mike H: aw, thanks!! I want more Listen to What I Mean!

Mike S: thanks, now you know how to make it (and have ready access to all the ingredients and equipment)!