This is the story of how I abandoned my mantra of “Why make things more complicated than they need to be?”. I was a firm believer in this, and would often employ as many shortcuts as I could to get to the end result. I’m talking mainly about those “infuriating” things such as mayonnaise, béarnaise and hollandaise sauce. I’ve even posted a recipe before for a blender hollandaise and you know, that’s fine – it works well – but I do not have good luck with blender mayonnaises and after having yet another failure, and wasting yet another 200ml of oil on something which ended up looking decidedly like a mayonnaise cream I thought: “No, enough is enough, I’m going to do it the old-fashioned way”.
And you know what?
It’s not hard, and it’s not annoying, and it doesn’t even take that long! Sure, you’ll get a bit of a cramp in your hand but you’ve (hopefully) got a second hand, right? Use that one instead! The whole process takes about five minutes or so and the result is very satisfying. The most time-consuming part of preparing the dish is probably trying to find the whisk from whichever dark recess your toddler has stuffed it into. My son is now at an age where he will open draws in the kitchen, grope around inside, and subsequently blindly grab the first utensil he comes into contact with. On any given day, during a simple walk from the front door to the bedroom I will now typically encounter a wooden spoon, a spatula, a whisk (oh – there it is, hooray!), a meat hammer, a loaf tin, and usually a saucepan or two for good measure, since these seem extra-specially exciting to him for some reason!
Aïoli is essentially a mayonnaise with garlic and on the subject of mayonnaise I should note that I haven’t actually bought any at all since my conversation with Kelly who opened my eyes to the vileness of “Light” Mayonnaise. My plan now, since I’ve cracked mayonnaises, is to aim to not buy it, and if I want it, then to always try and make it myself. It’s not very healthy, but it’s far better to enjoy it home-made as a treat every now and again and the minor hassle of all that whisking is enough to discourage me from whipping up a batch for every single sandwich I eat!
Many folks put in mustard or lemon juice (or both) to their aïoli. I tend to keep mine pure and simple, though if you did want to add these I’ve included instructions in the notes in the recipe below. Enjoy folks, and I’ll be back soon!
- 100ml good Olive Oil
- 100ml mild-flavoured Oil, such as Sunflower or Canola
- 3 large cloves of Garlic
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1tbsp Lemon Juice
- 2tsps Mustard (Dijon, Wholegrain etc.)
- Start off by peeling and mincing the garlic finely. Place into a large bowl with the egg yolk and whisk well with a balloon whisk.
- While whisking continuously, drizzle in the oil very slowly. You should be pouring as little as is physically possible, while still being able to call it a "continuous stream".
- Continue whisking - as the aïoli gains body you can start pouring the oil a little faster (but not too fast!).
- Keep going until all the oil is well combined and then transfer to a bowl or jar. Store in the refrigerator when not in use.
- If you find that the aïoli gets too thick you can loosen it by adding a couple of teaspoons of cool water.
- If you decide to flavour the aïoli with mustard, whisk this in at the beginning with the garlic and egg yolk.
- If you decide to use lemon juice then add this in at the very end, and add it in place of the water mentioned above.