Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is Aioli the Greatest Sauce Recipe Ever?

As I watched Iron Chef Michael Symon whisk together a simple aioli during his pork demo I attended in Aspen, I was thinking, what savory ingredient (besides cheese) isn't great with aioli?

I couldn’t come up with anything. Whether you're talking about meats, vegetables, starches, or breads – everything tastes great with aioli.

I've done a few versions of aioli on the site before, but never a minimalist, special equipment-free recipe like this. Of course, a true aioli is made with a mortar and pestle, but not everyone has one, and sure you can use a blender, but is there anything more annoying to clean (besides a garlic press as the Iron Chef pointed out during his demo)?

Do yourself a huge favor and take 10 minutes this week to make a little ramekin of this aioli. Then, start spreading and dipping your way up and down the food pyramid. You will discover you can turn a turkey sandwich into a [expletive deleted] great turkey sandwich, a roasted potato becomes the highlight of your day, and a carrot stick is transformed into an incredibly effective endorphin delivery system.

By the way, I'll warn you in advance that I won't spend time answering comments and questions about using raw egg yolks. I've covering that in several other posts, including my homemade mayo video recipe. If you are concerned, google the subject and you'll get millions of pages on the subject.

Rachael Ray has a better chance of winning a James Beard Chef of the Year award than you have getting sick from making this recipe. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
1 clove garlic
kosher salt
1 egg yolk
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just one more reason why having a lemon tree in my backyard is so great!

Chef Tom said...

Thanks! This sounds real good and simple too ;-)

Vincent said...

Hi Chef. I've done something similar before with roasted garlic (which I didn't dare call aioli!), and using extra virgin olive oil produced a bitter taste. Why?

Anonymous said...

Nice! Is this like a compound butter for meats? I make something similar but I use a shallots butter and EVOO its great on a steak.

Travis Cook said...

That looked so easy! I'm trying that tonight :)

Chef John said...

sorta same idea, but aioli is good on hot and cold meats

Chef John said...

many EVOO are bitter, some very bitter. Taste the oils first to find one you like, then whisk

Yubi Shines said...

Garlic bread! Eeee! I detest fussing around with whisks and sauces, even something as easy as this looks, but I will go through it just for the possibility of garlic bread.

You enabler.

Birder said...

Thank you SO much for this, Chef! This is perfect for me who is without any kitchen appliances more sofisticated than a wire whisk.

A couple of questions:

1) Do you have a favourite, or can you recommend a particular kind of EVOO for this recipe?

2) Could you tell the difference if bottled lemon juice was used instead of fresh?

3) What do you do with the leftover egg white?

Thanks again!

Chef John said...

1) Do you have a favourite, or can you recommend a particular kind of EVOO for this recipe? No, I use a variety, local here, also Costco tuscan which is very cheap and tasty

2) Could you tell the difference if bottled lemon juice was used instead of fresh? not sure, too subjective, but why use a bottle?

3) What do you do with the leftover egg white? i tossed it since it was just one.

averagebetty said...

"Rachael Ray has a better chance of winning a James Beard Chef of the Year award than you have getting sick from making this recipe."

Just one more tid-bit of the Chef John brilliance.

Miauz said...

Hi from Spain,

The name we use for this sauce is Alioli... I don't know if the name you used is a kind of translation or from another country.

Anyway, thanks for the blog and the recipes ;)

Don Madrid said...

I make this all the time here in Madrid. Like you said Chef, it goes with everything, but is especially nice with Paella.

And as for bitter EVOO, I think it is more of a peppery thing than bitter and I love it. The best stuff will nearly close off my windpipe.

Next time my folks come out to visit I'll send them home with a selection of Spanish olive oil varieties for them to ship to you once back in the States.

Anonymous said...

How do you get the garlic smell out of your board?

Thanks!!

Chef John said...

yes, peppery is good, but beyond peppery, many EVOOs have a bitter finish that turns some off.

Cindy said...

@Vincent -- if you are doing this in the blender, the blades can efficiently distribute the polyphenols in the emulsion, which causes a bitter taste. Check out the technicalities here: http://summertomato.com/the-bitter-truth-about-olive-oil/ Doing the emulsion by hand prevents this from happening.

Anonymous said...

You. Are. God. Thanks so much for this.

c0x said...

looking forward to the onion bread :D
hope you get it up on the blog till sunday.. my parents are coming over for brunch :X

Pearl said...

Thanks for the recipe! I plan to grill salmon and serve it with aioli. So excited!

PrlHacker said...

I just made this, put it on a turkey sandwich and . . . mmmmmm . . . I'm leaking garlic out of my skin already.

Oh, that part in the video about "just do the first tablespoon a couple drops at a time." . . . really, really important.

Dave W said...

Hi, Chef -- what's the best way to keep olive oil? Should it ever be refrigerated? How long can you keep it at room temperature?

Trevor Eichberg said...

Hey Chef,

We're having a pretty decent heat wave here in the SF bay area (it's 105 degrees in Marin) and I'm having trouble emulsifying the aioli. I've been using the same method you suggested and am curious if you think the heat has something to do with it?

I put it in the fridge for an hour and will try at it again when it's cooler. Would flour or corn starch help at all?

Thx

Chef John said...

don't think temp matters. NEVER add starch to an aioli. You would be banned from the site for life.

The only reason an aioli doesn't work is if the oil goes in too fast at the start. Yes, to be safe use a cold egg yolk, but just dip dip dip the first couple tablespoon until it starts to emulsify. Good luck!

Chef John said...

btw, what did you put in the fridge? A broken aioli? You can't use whip it back together. You can however, add it into a non-broken aioli once you have one.

Trevor Eichberg said...

Tried it again and it worked this time. Thanks

Chef John said...

sweet!

Jim said...

Thanks, Chef John...Another great recipe from you. Love it!!!

Vincent said...

@Cindy, I've actually come across that article before. I whisked by hand, but thank you for the resource.

@Chef John: I think I used this delicious, very green EVOO from Trader Joe's. Comes in a dark (almost black) square bottle for like five bucks. I don't think it's bitter by itself, but I could be wrong.

Anyway. I suppose this is another excuse to keep tasting different oils. Thanks for the tip!

Scott said...

Hi Chef John, Love your site. Question: Can you is the same method that you used for the mayo?

Thanks.

Chef John said...

yes, just leave out the garlic

sarau said...

Just as you said ~ this was a tasty addition to my cooking arsenal [can't remember how to spell the "R" word], however, you won't see me making this again. Once long ago I saw someone make mayonnaise and I declared I wouldn't do it 'cause it looked like too much work. Well, I shudda known it, 'cause Chef John makes everything he does look easy, so I went ahead with the Aioli. As I was part-way through I suddenly realized that, "Hey, I'm making a garlicky mayonnaise!" as my arm began to die!!! Now I'm the proud owner of the first and last dish of self-made Aioli! Guess I can't be a true chef. Ah, well, there's only one Chef John . . .

Chef John said...

what?! it only takes a couple minutes of whisking! you better get to the gym.

sarau said...

Oooh, ya got me there. In defense of my honor (I gots some ya know), it took me longer than it did you, I think, 'cause I couldn't do the "streaming in the olive oil" after the first few drops even with the wet towel assisting. So I pretty much added it in by "bunches" of drops as I went along. Can I get off the Wimp List now?

Chef John said...

okay, you're off

MegamiMoon said...

The recipe seems simple enough, but I had to throw out two batches before I got it right. Patience is key! I was a little too hasty with the olive oil. Anywho, super-yummy sauce for an extreme garlic lover like me. I used it in a sandwich. Sooooooooo good! Can't wait to have some with fries...

Chef John said...

congrats! now you have it down

Anonymous said...

John,

Allioli is of Catalan (Spanish) origin. The original recipe only contains garlic, olive oil and salt (egg is usually added to prevent the mix from breaking apart). It takes a lot of skill and practice to maker allioli without egg yolk.

Btw, mayonnaise, another popular sauce is also of Spanish (Menorca) origin.

Anyways, I love your site and recipes!

Anonymous said...

can i substitute a vegetable oil for the olive oil?

Chef John said...

sure!

Mike said...

this was good and i can't stand mayo from the jar.

marcella hazan said...

i don't really understand the subtlties of italian food. is there a reason i can't use an electric mixer for this?

Chef John said...

go ahead, but some say the violence of the machine bruises the olive oil and makes it bitter.

Anonymous said...

How do you get around the salmonella. The USDA says uncooked eggs and poultry and beef and fish which includes anything that comes in contact with or is in the same barn with is dangerous! I handle chicken raw meat and eggs like the plague until it is cooked and overdone!

Any advice would help!

Chef John said...

check this http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6637832

Ribeye said...

Excellent recipe for Aioli! Thanks, Chef John!

I have a question for you. You posted a recipe for a dipping sauce (can't remember the name), but it called for olive oil, butter at room temperature and I believe fresh rosemary or basil along with a few other ingredients. It is NOT the Grematola recipe. Anyway,I cannot find it on your site anywhere and I have thoroughly searched for it. PLEASE tell me where to locate it. I've tried duplicating it from memory but I'm missing too many ingredients. Thank you so much!

Sugar Fly said...

Yes, Alioli is Catalan. I am in Barcelona and have no clue how they make it here - all I know is Chef John's Aioli rules! Thanks Chef J :)

chad said...

this goes EXCELLENT on a burger.. i made some tonight and i'm actually eating it right now :) thanks chef john!

Anonymous said...

how to deal with broken aioli? i don't know what i did wrong, but it turned liquid. should i just throw it away? help me.

Chef John said...

you added the oil too fast at the beginning. You can try another egg yolk in a clean bowl and VERY slowly drip in the broken one until it comes together. Also, if you're scared it will break again.

박진아 said...

holy moses,
why have I never heard of this sauce before? i'm definitely trying this tonight. :)

eXtreme said...

Last night, I tried mixing 1/4 cup of olive oil with 1/4 cup off room temperature butter and made the sauce. It turned out pretty nice. Just not that stiff like 100% oil but still very thick especially after refrigerated.
Next time might be 1/2c oil and 1/2c butter.
Anyone dare to try 100% butter :D I guess clarified butter would work

Anonymous said...

really cool n rich receipe.......i love to eat with some fried meat...

Andrea said...

Hi Chef Jon!

I live in Spain, so I got really exited when I saw this recipe 'cause o absolutely LOVE aioli. I made a batch last night and it was the right consistency (It looked just like in the video), so I refrigerated it to use it today but it somehow turned liquid!!! It had the mayo consistency when I stored it. What did I do wrong?? should I leave it to rest before placing it in the refrigerator?

Chef John said...

I have no idea! fridge wouldnt make it break, and I've never seen a may that was thick and emulsified then break and separate. Make another small batch and slowly whisk in the thin one at the end.

Andrea said...

Thanks Chef John :) I'll let you know if I solve the mystery of the self breaking aioli. ... I have a feeling it's my less than desirable and somewhat broken fridge.

Anonymous said...

Thks Chef John,
I tried making aioli for the 1st time today. So happy tht it was successful...just abit thicker than the aioli in ur video. I had to add a tbs water to get the consistency like urs - is cos i whisked it too hard? ( i whisked manually by using hand whisk )

regards,
Susanna, Perth

Mike said...

Chef John, could you just add garlic to your mayonnaise recipe (which I plan on trying this afternoon)?

Chef John said...

You could but wouldnt be as strong

12345677 said...

Hey Chef John,

I usually like the recipes that you hype up to infinity but I wasn't digging this Aioli that much. Could I just be more of a garlic butter person? Now I did use vegetable oil rather than olive oil (ran out), could that have ruined it?

Thanks,

Andrew

Chef John said...

Taste is subjective, but the oo does make a difference. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this recipe chef, it's a hit! Mine turned out tasting great with both single and triple recipes, but the consistency was more like motor oil than the mayonnaise that you whipped up there. The only thing I did differently was that I used a smaller mixing bowl, could that be the reason?

Chef John said...

just start it slower next time. :-)

lilian85 said...

Hi, i saw a garlic aioli recipe on about.com american (link is http://americanfood.about.com/od/saucesdipsanddressings/r/Garlic_Mayo.htm) food which was written by you which uses store bought mayonnaise. I guess it would be easier if i had no time but in terms of taste which is better? Also would 3 cloves of garlic have a more intense flavour if using store bought mayonnaise? My parents love garlic bread so i thought i'll try a diff twist for a garlic bread recipe.

lilian85 said...

Oh, could i try this recipe with an immersion stick blender instead? Will it work? Thanks if u could reply. =)

Chef John said...

It would if you had enough to blend. This is too small of an amount.

lilian85 said...

Ok, so in terms of taste would the store bought mayo be better or this one with the egg yolk? Ur recipe for garlic bread on about.com didn't have lemon juice in it.

Chef John said...

i like the homemade, but it's all subjective!

lilian85 said...

I tried this today but added 2-3 extra cloves garlic cos i love garlic. Can the aioli be kept overnight and eaten with the garlic bread the next day? Would the flavors be better the next day?

Chef John said...

Yes, can be kept. But you'll have to be the judge if it tastes better ;-).

lilian85 said...

Ok...btw the aioli turned out really well. =)

Tim said...

Hi I posted earlier with the "motor oil consistency" comment. Just wanted to say that I made this twice in the last week or so, and it turned out to PERFECT fluffy mayo thickness! It definitely helps to start out slower like you said, and if anyone else's is breaking, it helps to drip the oil on the side of the mixture and whisk in the middle, bringing the oil in inch by inch. And no matter how much your arm and hand hurt, keep going! it's rewarding in the end, trust me garlic lovers.

Tim said...

To add to my previous comment, it seems a good amount of the raw garlic flavor gets lost in translation when the juices squeeze out onto the cutting board, before transferring the crushed clove to the mixing bowl. Would it be alright to use the "pestle" from a mortar and pestle to crush the garlic inside stainless steel bowl, or would i get miniscule fragments of ceramic and steel in the aioli?

Chef John said...

yes M&P even better!

Anonymous said...

I can't think of a better condiment to serve alongside an artichoke. This is what I had tonight and oh dear god it was good. Sure, it takes a little more effort than just melting some butter to dip the leaves in, but it is worth it!

Xiao said...

Just made a batch of this, chef! I used a mortar and pestle (we had one lying around), and switched to a whisk for the... Whisking. Followed the recipe, I must report that my aioli also had the bitterness. It was more like garlic-bitter-lemon and EVOO goodness. Is there such a thing as overwhisking the sauce to bruise the oil to make it bitter?

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef John... Brian Here, long time reader, first time commenter.

I made this aioli today and this is the first time I've attempted a mayo that didn't break! :-) I've tried multiple times and it's never pretty (not to mention a waste of good olive oil). Just wanted to say thanks for the recipe and the video. Never shall I attempt mayo with a blender again. This is way easier.

PS- "Your misenplace or mine" T-shirt... genius.

Anonymous said...

Could you use this sauce in a white garlic pizza, you know use the sauce on the dough then cover with cheese...then bake it?

The Gourmet Pastor said...

Hello Chef John! I just found your blog, and tried this recipe today...wow!!!! I added this aioli to a sandwich, and after seeing how easy this was to prepare with a bowl and a balloon whisk, I will never buy store bought mayo or spreads again!

Cooking is one of my passions, and I look forward to trying a number of the recipes that you have on this blog. God Bless!!

Annabelle Lee said...

Every time I make this recipe, it never comes out to be thick as a mayo. I tried it with a stick blender, and it still didn't work.

Jinx said...

My garlic was a bit bitter, so I added a touch of honey and it was perfect! I've used it on pork chops, instead of egg to bread chicken (which was amazing!), and as a spread for pretty much everything! Absolutely delicious!

Alex Weber said...

To our Spanish brethren: I believe you that alioli is what the sauce is properly called in Spanish, but on English menus what you see is aioli, time and again.

Chef John is my hero, and I really enjoyed making this, as I have almost all his recipes (try his lasagna, crab stuffed corn muffins, chicken thai noodle salad, his coat-tails on those have all made me a hero at home).

The technique on this went fine, but it's got a deeply bitter taste. Guess my EVOO is too cheap (I bought Spanish, but I live in Beijing, so don't have the same range of choice imported foodstuffs as I did when I lived in the Bay Area).

I may try Jinx's advice and add a touch of honey, as i ploughed ahead and made a double batch here, and it seem a shame to waste it.

Leela Gupta said...

Not only yummy, but eating raw garlic is a great immune booster.

Carolina Incakola said...

With my 120% trust in Chef John, I follwed exactly the recipe. However, the flavor of the lemon overpowers in my alioli. I would suggest trying with half of lemon juice, if you're not a big fan of lemon flavor or if your lemon seems to be quite acid, and add the other half later if it seems necessary.