The secret to a happy marriage? Make sure you both love garlic. Aoli is basically French garlic mayonnaise and it is so easy to make and a must to have in the fridge at all times for a base for a quick salad dressing, spread for sandwiches, marinade for meat, foundation for sauce… Of course you can make aoli without the garlic and you will have a delicious mayonnaise. Of course I don’t make a traditional aoli, because I add other things which I like, but basically you do need to follow a certain order when making this.
First, as with all things with garlic, like pesto… always process the garlic first in your food processor. I use a lot. 🙂
Next you add your eggs. I use two. Most recipes tell you that mayonnaise will not work unless you only use the yolks, but this is how I always do it, as I don’t like to waste the whites. Fresh, pastured eggs with bright yellow yolks make for a lovely aoli. Process the eggs well, and scrape down the sides to incorporate all the garlic.
Read a French cookbook, and marvel at the strong French arms of the good wife, as she minces the garlic by hand, beats the eggs to a froth with her wire whisk, and then SLOWLY, drop by drop, small stream by small stream, dribbles the rich green olive oil into the beaten eggs, beating all the while. Well, as you can see, I am both a bad photographer and a bad small stream pourer as I slosh in some olive oil while the food processor is running. Yes, a slow steady stream of oil is best, but I just pour some in and run the machine until it thickens, and then add more oil until the thickness is what I like.
It will be thick and rich, or should be if you follow this order: (garlic if you are using it) eggs, then oil, then salt and then other things. If for some reason your aoli, mayonnaise does not set up, do not despair. Take it out of the food processor (or bowl and whisk) and put in two egg yolks, then beat those. Slowly add in with the machine running, or that whisk a beatin’, the runny mayo and keep processing until it is incorporated and has thickened up.
Now you add more flavor. I add a good sea salt, cayenne pepper and some sort of acid like lemon juice or lime juice or apple cider vinegar. Usually I just add my favorite herbal combination, sage preserved in honey with apple cider vinegar.
Process again and this time the aoli will be runnier, depending on how much liquid you added. You can add more olive oil and process until thicker, but it still will not be as thick as mayonnaise with these extra ingredients, but the sweet and hot combination is delicious.
I usually add some coconut oil at this point, and you want it to be somewhat soft. If it is very hard, just warm it slightly so it will incorporate well. When you now refrigerate this, it will firm up even more with the added coconut oil, and it is so good for you.
This makes about a quart of aoli, minus what you licked out of the bowl.