Aioli

by Betsy Carnie

Aioli is very easy to make and, while this is the traditional version, once you understand the technique, you can vary it infinitely—by adding herbs or replacing the 1/4 cup olive oil with toasted sesame oil and the salt with miso paste (for an Asian veggie dip), or by omitting the garlic and using the resulting spread to replace the butter on your morning toast.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup olive oil (mild-flavored)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil into a blender. Add the egg. Blend for one minute, until the egg and oil begin to emulsify. Now, with the blender still running, pour in the remaining oil in a slow, steady stream. The more oil you add, the thicker the mixture will become. Once you have added all the oil and the consistency is a littler thicker than you want, add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust for seasoning. (Remember, the aioli will be eaten on unseasoned food so it should be salty and garlicky enough that when it’s on a bite of unseasoned vegetables, the whole mouthful is balanced in flavor.) Adjust for consistency, keeping in mind that more oil will make it thicker and a splash of water will make it softer.

Important notes: It is essential that the egg be at room temperature, and the oil added in a slow stream, or else the aioli will not emulsify properly. Also note that, made in this traditional way, aioli contains raw egg—so know your eggs. You’ll want to have confidence that they come from a healthy chicken. I always inform diners so that they can ultimately decide for themselves if they are comfortable eating uncooked and raw food.

The recipe yields about a cup and a half of aioli, enough for dinner for about 6 people.