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Aioli: What Exactly Is This Luscious Condiment?


Ah aioli. That garlicky heaven of a spread. You know you love it paired with fish, roasted vegetables or with a crunchy salad, but do you actually know what makes up that rich condiment?

Culinary experts will tell you that aioli is just a fancy way of saying garlic mayonnaise. Now, when you see “garlic aioli” on a restaurant menu you can have a little gourmet giggle to yourself because that basically means “garlic garlic mayonnaise.” While, you can add numerous ingredients to aioli (lemon, red pepper, herbs), traditional aioli always contains garlic.

In customary French cuisine, aioli is made using simple ingredients that you would likely always have on hand: fresh garlic, raw egg yolk, a pinch of salt and lots of olive oil. Fresh, creamy aioli takes on a deep yellow hue and tastes rich and fragrant. Spread across a crusty baguette, it’s pure bliss.

Eating raw egg may freak you out, but if you use extremely fresh and organic eggs (preferably from your local farmers market), you need not fear. Speaking of fresh, this condiment will only taste all the more luscious if you use the freshest ingredients possible. Think garlic grown in your own backyard. And maybe even locally produced olive oil? Yum.

Making your own aioli couldn’t be easier. (It will require a bit of muscle power with a whisk, however. But the results are worth it.) Give this simple recipe a go.


2-3 cloves organic garlic

Pinch of salt

From the Organic Authority Files

1 raw organic egg yolk (room temperature)

1 cup olive oil


The garlicky flavor can get intense quickly so start out with less garlic, maybe one clove, and simply add more later if you desire. Traditionally, you crush the garlic using a mortar and pestle. Don’t have a mortar on hand? Crush the garlic along with the pinch of salt in a deep bowl with the handle of a rolling pin. (Or you could cheat and use a food processor.) Crush the garlic cloves until a paste forms.

Add one raw organic egg yolk that you’ve allowed to reach room temperature to the garlic paste. Use a whisk to combine the mixture.

Slowly… very slowly… add the oil. I mean SLOW. Start off adding it drop by drop and whisking the mixture together. You can add a bit more oil as you go. Stop adding the oil when the aioli achieves a mayonnaise-like consistency.

If the mixture gets too thick, add a tiny amount of warm water to dilute it.

image: Kirsten Hudson

Follow Kirsten on Twitter @kirsten_hudson

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