Aioli Sauce

From The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt

Any time I dine out at a fancy restaurant and see the chef using the word “aioli” when he or she really means “mayonnaise,” I make it a point to inform the waiter, my wife, and perhaps a few of the surrounding tables of the chef’s loose lexical morals and the liberties he or she is taking by obfuscating two of the world’s great sauces. The word “aioli” comes from the Occitan and is a contraction of ai (garlic) and oli (oil). A true aioli is made by smashing garlic cloves in a mortar with a pestle, then slowly drizzling in olive oil a drop at a time until a smooth emulsion is formed. It’s an intensely spicy, pungent sauce often served with seafood and croutons or boiled potatoes. The Spanish version, allioli, is commonly served with olives, grilled meats, or grilled vegetables.

I first made aioli sauce when making the Pan-Seared Hake and Asparagus with Aioli recipe from the New York Times. Today, as I prepare to make the Pan-Seared Sablefish (Black Cod) with Lemon Pepper Aioli, I see how wildly different the two recipes for aioli are. I remember that the last time we made the Hake, it felt light on salt and light on lemon.

From the Sablefish recipe:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated or finely minced
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard (we love Edmond Fallot)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp grated lemon zest
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup olive oil

From the Hake recipe:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or mashed to a paste, or use 1 tbsp minced green garlic
  • ½ tsp lemon juice, more to taste
  • ⅛ tsp fine sea salt, more to taste
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or chives

Indeed the aioli with the Hake calls for only ½ tsp of lemon juice and ⅛ tsp of sea salt for ¾ cup of olive oil, whereas the Sablefish recipe has 2 tbsp of lemon juice and ½ tsp of salt for only ½ cup of oil.

I will modify the recipe (posted at Aioli Sauce) and increase the lemon juice to 1 tbsp and salt to ½ tsp with ¾ cup of olive oil, taking somewhere in between.

Joi's Aioli Sauce for now:

  • 2 cloves of garlic or 1 tablespoon of green garlic
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • ½ tsp grated lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of fresh tarragon or chives

Also, the Cod recipe has lemon zest and Dijon mustard and pepper which sound great so I'm adding those too.

The Hake called for leaving the garlic in the lemon juice for a few min - my guess is that this macerates the garlic so I'm adding this step to the recipe. I'm going to allow the garlic to be minced by the Thermomix.

Recipes prepared