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!
- 100 ml good Olive Oil
- 100 ml mild-flavoured Oil such as Sunflower or Canola
- 3 large cloves of Garlic
- 1 Egg Yolk
Optional1tbsp Lemon Juice
- 2 tsps 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 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.
Bam's Kitchen says
Your little boy is getting so big and I hope he never gets loose with one of your meat hammers… Been there done that!! Beautiful Aioli and perfect on light fish as well.
Hi Bam – worst thing is that he likes to smack things into the windows… I’m waiting (and hoping it never happens!) for the day he breaks right through :(.
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says
“Sure, you’ll get a bit of a cramp in your hand…” haha, awesome Charles! Loving this recipe and your version of delicious homemade mayonnaise à la aioli. I’m a fan of real mayonnaise — nothing wrong with olive oil and egg! But yes, the fillers, binders and sugars in commercial light mayonnaise is pure garbage. Sadly, most consumers are led to believe otherwise and brainwashed into thinking ‘fat free’ mayo is a healthy choice 🙁 (I won’t go on and on about my warm and cozy feelings for food manufacturers – lol!).
Love this recipe Charles and yes, the simplicity of it too makes it achievable for all. I can even see William in there whisking away :). (Still can’t get over that photo of him reaching for the potato pancakes — it is so perfect that I thought it might be photoshopped ;-)). I’m going to try your version with the delightful garlic Charles and maybe toss in some fresh tarragon — I’m always looking for excuses to use my favourite herb :O).
Hi Kelly – tarragon is an interesting choice to have as a “favourite” herb. Most people usually go for basil I think. I’m definitely a fan of basil, and also coriander… love those too so much and they’re so versatile!
As for Willy’s naughty little roaming hand… haha, I couldn’t believe it. There I was taking photos and suddenly his hand sneaks into the viewfinder. He’d come up behind me and tried to take the pancakes… no photoshopping required there! :D)
[email protected] says
This goes right into my bookmark!! I have been wanting to make mayo for a while, and garlicky mayo sounds heavenly.
Thanks Minnie – I hope you have a chance to try it 🙂
I smiled at the picture of your little klepto snatching items out of your drawer for the fun of it and then strewing them around the house. I had a bit of fear about the meat hammer though … he can do some serious damage with one of those.
Sometimes you have to go with what works for you and if making aioli the old fashioned way is best, that’s ok. As long as you find the process satisfying. 🙂 As soon as I run out of my Miracle Whip salad dressing, I think I’ll try a batch of blender mayo again and see if my previous success was just beginner’s luck.
I bet the sandwiches were delicious.
Haha, luckily he doesn’t go too nuts with the meat hammer… mainly just clutches it and toddles off somewhere and deposits it somewhere else. He’s very strong… I have a large cast-iron frying pan which even my wife finds hard to lift and he just picks it up and rushes off somewhere, looking very pleased with himself! 😀
Charles, the photos are breathtaking! I don’t remember last time gazing at a food photo for such a long time. (What’s in these cute sandwiches??? Or maybe don’t tell me… it will only make me hungrier 😉 ). I am addicted to garlic (as you may have noticed…) and aïoli is of course one of my favourite sauces. I remember eating it for the first time in the south of France with some fish and it was love at first sight. Your aïoli looks perfectly luscious!
Ha, thank you Sissi – my wife told me the photos looked weird but I thought they looked quite nice. The sandwiches had some ham, cucumber, feta and chopped mint (and aïoli of course).
It is a gorgeous sauce isn’t it, though making it by hand really drives home just how “unhealthy” it is. I mean, it’s like 95% oil! Delicious, but not good for any diet 😀
Eva Taylor says
We too, have stopped buying ‘lite’ mayo because of Kelly, and making your own seems like the appropriate next step. I’ve made aioli before using my emersion blender with excellent results, and the bonus is that you don’t get cramped hands! Sometimes I like to put a little saffron into it, particularly when I serve it with a fish soup or chowder. The colour of your aioli is absolutely gorgeous which tells me your egg yolk must be very golden in colour; our’s are always so pale, even when I buy organic and free range eggs.
My Mom bought me kids versions of the tools that William really seems to like (when I was a kid, of course), but the real one’s were always more fun.
Hi Eva, the eggs we buy are really lovely and golden actually… taste so good too… I’m going through a soft-boiled egg kick at the moment – could totally eat them every day!
Hotly Spiced says
I remember those days of the toddler playing in my kitchen drawers and cupboards only too well. The mess! I know some mothers would put those catches on their cupboards so they couldn’t be opened but I was never like that – I always felt a bit of exploring and being inquisitive could only be good. I love aioli and I make it the same way you do – just like they did in the olden days. I do tend to add a little lemon and dijon to mine! xx
Hi Charlie – it is funny… of all the things he “could” play with in the house, he chooses kitchen implements as his “toy of choice” :D.
Chica Andaluza says
You’re right, it really is so easy to make (although I usually use my stick blender but it blew up this week, so it;s back to the old fashioned method for me)! Looks great and I can imagine how good it tasted dolloped on those gorgeous chunks of bread 🙂
I think I’ll never try again with the blender tbh… that’s two times now I’ve had a complete mess and wasted almost half a litre of oil over both tries. Screw that! 🙂
“but you’ve (hopefully) got a second hand, right?”
Oh Charles! Hahaha!
Aioli / mayo is so great when homemade. It doesn’t even taste anything like the storebought ones! So good! It’s funny that you have managed to crack the blender hollandaise- that one I insist on doing the old school way in a bain marie because I find it splits so easily! But mayo and aioli weirdly works for me in a hand blender. Ha! We need to swap tips. I don’t even have any tip.. it just works. But anyway kudos to you for doing it by hand. Must be a complete treat, and I also firmly believe that things that you’ve worked hard for taste better. Psychological maybe, but still!
And look at that lovely boy- I swear he’s growing up wayyyy quicker than most babies. Must be what you;’re feeding him dear daddy and mummy.
Hi Shu, I always found blender hollandaise super easy (and effective), but screw blender mayo… no way, never again! So much better and easier to whisk it up by hand. Was super tasty, that’s for sure!
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says
I remember those days well. I had a favorite wooden spoon and when I’d get really flustered I’d bang the spoon on the kitchen counter and say, “This is a spanking spoon!” That’s all it took. One day I couldn’t find the spoon. Nowhere.
Eventually I did find it — in the sandbox.
“No fankin foon!” he said. He’d buried it!
We never spanked but every parent gets to the end of their tether sometimes. 🙂
I’d have been better off making aioli instead.
LOL, Maureen – that made me chuckle :D. Parenting is certainly hard work sometimes. Consistency can be tough too… sometimes I think it’s the cutest thing ever when he runs around playing with a whisk. Other times I actually need that whisk and he’s zooming around the apartment, sticking it in the cat-food!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Love the garlic in your aioli, homemade condiments are often so much better than store-bought!
Thanks Laura! 🙂
Coffee and Crumpets says
Beautiful aioli Charles, I love the colour. You are so right about the vileness of food these days. The manufacturers are taking advantage of us and the govt helps the, do it. I won’t start on what I think, but lately I make everything a home, from homemade pancake syrup, to chocolate syrup, to my own sriracha sauce. My children take a lot of sandwiches to school and I fear I may lose a hand if I had to whip that much mayo, so I end up buying an organic one.
Little Will sounds likes he’s ready for the kitchen already!
Hi Nazneen – you’re so right, and I indeed saw your lovely pancake syrup the other day… looked fantastic. Chocolate syrup is another! Commercial “chocolate” syrup… it’s disgusting – doesn’t even taste like chocolate!
Fran @ G'day Souffle' says
Charles, your stories about your toddler son bring back memories when my son was that age- one time I looked in our toilet and he had placed two pairs of shoes in the toilet!
I just made some aioli for my crab cake recipe that I just posted- homemade mayonnaise tastes so much better than store-bought! Nice post.
Haha, he had a saucepan and looked like he was going to put it in the toilet the other day… luckily I could quickly close the seat, lol! 😀
Personally this is way much better for me compared to mayonnaise, I use them with french fries regularly 🙂
Mm, french fries and mayo (or better: aïoli!) – now that’s a match made in heaven!
Helene D'souza says
So that sounds as if little William will turn into a little chef soon if he likes to “borrow” your whisk and wooden spoons. ^.^
well… the traditional recipes are not for nothing traditional and perfect as they are, especially the sauces. 😉 I miss making aioli, sort of forgot about it, thanks for reminding charles!
I think he’ll have to get his own wooden spoon first… I only have one left now after the handle snapped on the other one, and it seems that this one is never in the drawer when I need it, lol!
Barb @ Profiteroles & Ponytails says
Kitchen utensils really do make the best toys, don’t they? I’m afraid I don’t want to know what is in light mayo because I’m addicted to it. However, based on your testimony, I could see making this for special occasions. Like when blogging friends come to visit from France! Hope things are well with all of you Charles.
Hi Barb, you should try this – even without garlic and made as “regular” mayo, the taste is quite a bit different to commercial mayo, and totally different to that revolting goop they call light mayo, I’m sorry to say. You’d enjoy it though… it’s really good!
I love these pictures. The yellow of the aioli and the blue on the bowl are gorgeous! And I had to laugh about the missing whisk. Our kids did the same thing. I even bought Miss A her own whisk one Christmas and wouldn’t you know it’s the one I use to cook with now because mine has gone permanently missing. I’ve never made aioli before. I’ll have to give it a try sometime. You made it sound totally doable. 🙂
Thanks Kristy – did you know, the lovely bowl is a hand-painted gift from Sawsan over at Chef in Disguise (I don’t think she painted it, but it “is” hand-painted, as opposed to being commercially printed).
I find it hilarious that you’re using the whisk you bought for Miss. A – you’ll probably find the old one when you move one day! 😀
William sounds like such a joy, William, healthy, fun loving and very outgoing. Hopefully the sharp knives are way out of his reach. 🙂
Drop over and check out my latest fun project using my pasta machine. One clue – it’s NOT pasta.
Oh yes – they’re in a block far away on the counter! 😀
Thanks for the inspiration to start making my own mayonnaise. Between you and John over at Kitchen Riffs, I can understand why I’m not always making my own mayo. Love your use of 2 types of oils and just a couple of other ingredients. I did make it once a while back and use some dijon, but didn’t like it. Of course, I should have figured that out beforehand since I’m not a mustard fan. 🙁 Thanks for the inspiration Charles. Your aioli looks fabulous!
Oh, it’s too bad… I think a bit of dijon is really nice too. Of course, sometimes it’s nice on its own, but yeah – I can understand why not if you’re not a lover of mustard. Do you like wasabi?
I absolutely love wasabi! I keep a tube of wasabi paste in the refrigerator at all times. So you’re suggesting adding some wasabi into the mix? Sounds like a good idea to me!
Ah, well, by all means! Give it a try! 🙂 I thought you might dislike wasabi too if you hate mustard since it has the same kind of “mouth-burning” thing going on!
Anneli (Delicieux) says
I think I could happily dip almost anything into garlic mayo! One of the best things about going to Spain for me is slathering garlic mayo onto bits of bread and scoffing them without guilt because that is what people do there! (ok, I may put more mayo on than necessary but hey, who cares)
I am with you on mayonnaise…doing it the old fashioned way by hand is easy and you have so much more control. Yum is all that I can say.
Oh, I’m the same… dunk way too much aioli on the bread and come on… just eating bread and aioli or mayo on it’s own… it’s so unhealthy but SOOOOOO good! 😀
[email protected] Chef in disguise says
Oh you reminded me of my kids when they were that age. Just wait a little longer and you will have pictures of them sitting in drawers they have completely emptied on the floor lol
I have never made aioli because I worry about raw eggs.
pasteurized eggs are not available here and with kids in the house I just can’t risk it
Hi Sawsan, I’ve got an outrageously cute photo of my son standing in the cupboard, playing peekaboo – he’s opening and closing the cupboard door and giggling to himself like a loon!
I can understand your desire to avoid raw eggs – I would actually be really interested to know if you can pasteurise your eggs yourself… I wonder if it can be done?
I think I read that mustard has the same properties as egg yolk in binding oil, and can be used in place of yolk… worth a try!
I have never hand beaten aioli :0! I think my arm would drop off… although I do like to make it from scratch… hubby hates it when he spies the low fat version in fridge 🙂
Thanks for sharing.
Haha, you get into a groove after a while… it’s actually quite fun.