I remember when I decided to order takeout from a local restaurant near me. They were advertising a sandwich that had garlic aioli on it…and they weren’t the only ones who were hawking this epic sauce. It seems like just about every restaurant around my area has started to offer up aioli in one dish or another. Garlic-enhanced aioli remains the most popular, and I totally get why. It’s delicious!
For those who haven’t tasted an aioli before, allow me to explain what this is. It’s a mayonnaise-like sauce that can be used on steak, sandwiches, fries, and just about everything else. When you add garlic to it, you get a winning addition to any meal. (Yes, I’m an aioli fan, especially when it has garlic or chipotle added into it.)
What Is Garlic Aioli Made Of?
Let’s take a look at what’s going on with aioli first. Aiolis are sauces that originated in the Mediterranean region. According to Wikipedia, the word “aioli” translates into “garlic and oil” in Catalan and Provencal. As the name suggests, this is a sauce that’s made out of garlic, oil, salt, and extra seasonings, if you want a twist on the traditional recipe.
How Does Aioli Differ From Mayonnaise?
This is a common question, and it all boils down to egg usage. Traditional aioli doesn’t incorporate egg yolks in its recipe. Mayonnaise, on the other hand, is primarily based off eggs. It’s really that simple. That being said, most modern recipes will incorporate mayonnaise or eggs as a way to mellow out the traditionally spicy and sharp taste of aioli.
How to Make Garlic Aioli at Home: The Ingredients and Tools
Most of the time, people who enjoy this sauce tend to get it at upscale restaurants like gastropubs. Those trips out can get pretty pricey, so you might as well learn how to make it at home. Before you can whip up your own garlic aioli, you’re going to need the following ingredients and tools at your disposal:
- 4 Cloves Garlic. I suggest peeling them and chopping them up.
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt. Regular coarse-grain table salt works best, since sea salt crystals can take a while to dissolve.
- 1/2 Cup Light Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The EVOO you use can be pure, or can have a flavor infusion, if you like.
- 1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice. You can add a little more, if you want, but most prefer it to be a light touch.
- 1 Teaspoon Water. Regular room temperature works fine.
- A Mortar and Pestle. This is a must.
How to Make Garlic Aioli: The Instructions
Now that you have all the ingredients, it’s time to get cracking. Making this “secret sauce” is surprisingly simple, even if you don’t do the typical “cheat” route of using mayonnaise or getting a food processor to do the work…
- Start by crushing up the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle. You will need to mash it up for about five minutes. It should be a fine paste once you’re done.
- Add the lemon juice. Stir gently.
- Start to incorporate olive oil, teaspoon by teaspoon. To make sure that the oil is fully incorporate in, stir the mixture thoroughly and fold it in gradually.
- Continue to mash and stir until your aioli thickens up. The oil should start to stiffen up sooner rather than later. At this point, you’ve made garlic aioli. If you need to thin it out, just add a little water to make the consistency easier to work with.
What Can You Use Aioli For?
The spicy, strong taste of real garlic aioli is something that deserves a lot more love than it often gets. Along with being great on fries, sandwiches, and steak, this delicious sauce also works well on seafood. In Provence, the most common ways to serve aioli involved poached fish, baked vegetables, chicken, as well as an accompaniment to sliced of freshly baked bread. So, basically tradition would suggest using it anywhere you’d use a beurre blanc sauce.
Though tradition would have this sauce used on specific foods, I’ve personally noticed that everyone has their own unique dish they adore using garlic aioli with…and some of them are seriously surprising! The best way to find your favorite way to serve this sauce is to make it at home and experiment with it. As long as you love garlic, you’ll be bound to find something you adore.