Aioli, pronounced – Ay-Ee-Oh-Lee, is basically a garlic mayonnaise, and I’ve seen recipes to make garlic bread by taking some aioli, and spreading it on bread, and baking it for a few minutes. So the other night, I had a loaf of my sourdough bread, and I decided what the heck, let’s eat this whole thing. It was the night before the fast, so it was ok to stuff myself.
By now you know me, and you should know that – no, I didn’t just add garlic to mayonnaise, I made some homemade mayonnaise, with cloves of garlic, that’s just the type of kosher gastronome I am.
So starting at the basics, what exactly is mayonnaise?
Well in it’s simplest form it’s an emulsion, which is any two liquids, that normally don’t dissolve in each other, and are forced together, like oil and water (as opposed to say water and alcohol, which when mixed together, are not referred to as an emulsion). Because water and oil don’t dissolve in one another, whenever you try and mix the two together, it will form two distinct layers, but you might ask yourself, ok, so they don’t mix, but why can’t oil just coexist inside the water in little drops? Well the reason why they just form two layers when not mixed in, is because of surface tension. When both liquids don’t mix, it’s less energy from their standpoint to be in one big monolithic layer, this limits the amount of contact with the other liquid each one has to go through.
We good so far?
So there’s two ways in which we can over come the surface tension energy needed to disperse it in one another. The first one is pure kinetic energy. Just some shear force, by a whisk, or by blender. This physically breaks up the oil into billions of little droplets, that get dispersed in the water. You want these droplets as small as possible, so there’s less of a chance that they will coalesce back together.
However, this is only half the answer, if you only beat the heck out of the oil, eventually it will go back. The way we keep it in this phase, is with the help of some emulsifiers. An emulsifier, is basically a shield to the individual oil droplets, which will therefore reduce it’s surface tension, and prevent it from wanting it to bunch up with the other oil drops.
So back to the mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is unique, because it is mostly oil (about 4:1, oil to water), but it is still technically an “oil-in-water” emulsion. Basically, if you could go swimming around in oil, besides being totally disgusting, you would notice a ton of oil swimming around in not so much water. The way this happens, is through the emulsifiers.
Plain mayo is oil, egg yolk, lemon juice or vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper. Egg yolks are notorious for being great emulsifiers (I’m not sure why they’re notorious, but they are..), because of their phospholipid lecithin, and mustard is also a very good emulsifier. So the combination of these two allow for the seemingly unstable oil in water emulsion, to last.
For an aioli, the only difference is we put in garlic. So start with the yolk, salt, pepper, mustard, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor, and pulse to combine.
Now we add the oil. It’s very important to add the oil slowly, or it won’t disperse properly, and you won’t end up with an emulsion.
As you can see (sorta) the oil is coming down that little hole in the food pusher part of the food processor. This allows only a trickle of oil to come down, and lets it add slowly.
And this is the finished product.
After all is said and done, it’s pretty simple to make home-made mayonnaise at home (if you would have just ignored my little shpiel, you could’ve been done by now!).
Now for the garlic bread, I just spread some of the aioli on the bread, and spiced it up with whatever came to mind. I would have liked to use parsley, but I didn’t have any, so I used some basil, some cumin, and some red pepper flakes.
Popped it in the oven for 10 minutes to bake, and then I even put it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp it up a little more.
Then took spread some more aioli on it, and some corned beef, and pastrami, and topped it with some lettuce, avocado, and amazingness
Doesn’t it kind of look like a face, and the cold cuts are the mouth, and right above that are the nostrils, and it looks like boogers are coming out of it? Well i know that sounds absolutely disgusting, but despite all that boogery grossness, it was still super delicious.
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 5 cloves of garlic
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or sherry or white wine vinegar
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Put the yolk, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice or vinegar in the container of a food processor and turn the machine on.
- While it’s running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. (Through the small hole on the food processor).
- Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.