Aïoli has it’s origins here in the south of France but it exists in various permutations in Italy and the south of Spain. Frighteningly the original was just an emulsion of lots of garlic and olive oil. Another piece of info worth noting is that locally in Provence Aïoli is a complete dish or main-course, consisting of a none too appealing mix of boiled vegetables and salted cod with a garlic sauce. I try to avoid it if I can!
Most of you will know Aïoli from home already and I consider it one of god’s gifts to our tastebuds (if not to our waistlines). It’s just such a great dish to share with friends whilst having a good natter over a glass of chilled Rosé.
Aïoli goes really well with so many foods and I love to serve it with lots of colours and textures: a bowl of shrimps or gambas, crunchy green beans, all sorts of raw vegetables (carrot sticks, peppers, cucumber, even broccoli and cauliflower if you want to scare the kids), eggs and crunchy slices of bread or frites. And please don’t be scared of making your own – I’ve actually never had it go wrong, but you need to be a little patient and have 10 minutes to yourself.
For 4 people you’ll need:
- 2 large Eggs
- 250 ml of Olive Oil
- 250 ml of Sunflower Oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, depending on whether you like it strong
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 1/2 a lemon
If you have an automatic mixer/blender this is the best to use, otherwise a hand mixer will do nicely, or if you have lots of brawn a regular hand-whisk.
First carefully separate the eggs and put the yolks into a bowl. Add the garlic, pushed through a press (get rid of the hard bits after every clove), then the water and mustard. Lastly mix up the two types of oil and make sure they’re well integrated.
Begin by whisking the mixture in your bowl and once it’s formed a nice homogenous cream start to add a bit of oil to your cream. Make sure you take it slowly in the beginning and that each glug of oil is well integrated into the existing cream before you add any more. If you see oil building up on the sides you are going too fast! You are able to add oil more quickly once the mixture has become stiffer and paler in colour, but try and take your time.
Once you’re done, squeeze in a bit of lemon juice and adjust the seasoning with salt. Refrigerate your Aïoli right away and use it up within a few days at the most.
Oh là là, c’est bon ça, enjoy!