My recent addition to the kitchen is Spanish alioli (what the French call aïoli and what we may want to call garlic mayonnaise in English). Ah. But don’t call it garlic mayonnaise. I got the stinkiest of stink eyes from my Spanish friend when I did that.
I must say. Where has this condiment been all my life?
What could be tastier than fat and egg and garlic? Whipped? Pray tell.
And, this post elegantly dove-tails my last blog on the nutritional virtues of the almighty egg. Granted there are some folks out there with egg allergies. Even though egg-free alioli deviates from the true condiment, this article speaks to efforts to create something just as creamy and delightful. May the force be with you.
Even though I have had aioli (switched to French spelling) at restaurants over the years, nothing compares to the garlic-y parade in the mouth I get from homemade alioli (back to casa-style Spanish spelling). It really is astounding, the mouth-dance. Makes me feel that these restaurants have been holding back all of these years. Foo.
So, the arrival of alioli in my life…the story goes like this. My local Spanish friend has a husband whom she deems as especially skilled in alioli making. So, one evening he made this alioli with patatas grillas (simple, oven-backed potatoes). Just like that, I was hooked.
Since then, every time I went over to their place to eat, I requested alioli. I think I said something like, “please ask him to make alioli. Please!”
So, the last time I was over, I asked them to show me the way. You know, teach a person to fish, kind of thing. I have since been making a couple of batches each week and alioli-ing any friend that walks through my door.
One interesting side-bar is that there are some old wives tales around the making of alioli (of course this seems to be the case with any cultural culinary curiosity). For example, my Spanish friends said that if a woman happens to be menstruating and standing in the kitchen while someone is making alioli, the egg and oil will not emulsify. If you try it, let me know (grin).
They say that alioli is made up of the Catalonian words all-i-oli, which literally translate into garlic-and-oil. Catalan is a region in NE Spain.
Garlic (Allium sativum) has a long history of medicinal and culinary use. It’s a common folks food and yet it’s highly esteemed in the finest of restaurants. A potent anti-microbial herb (meaning it is anti-bacterial, viral and fungal), this pungent and warming humble bulb is legendary. It seems to be even more legendary after you eat it as the volatile oils found in garlic bulbs are released through the lungs and the skin 4-6 hours after consumption.
Just be in good company when you decide to devour this dish. I, for one, don’t mind the added benefit of this tasty condiment: warding off vampires. Doesn’t hurt.
No, but really. If you view “vampires” as viral or microbial offenses to the body, then garlic is a great ally to have around. Strep throat. UTI’s. Ear infections. Yeast infections. Common cold & flus. Warts. …just to name a few common uses.
And, it just happens to be garlic harvesting season right now. Normally, the bulbs are planted in the Fall and fresh garlic is harvested in the late Spring/early Summer when the garlic scapes and greens on top begin to brown.
Ok, now for the recipe. And, for those of you that know me, I don’t give exact measurements as many things in the kitchen simply require basic knowledge of the elements of the recipe (and desired outcome) and some intuition. Further, who hasn’t changed a recipe to make their own?
You can use a blender, food processor, mortar & pestle, or hand-held blender. My favorite way is using a blender, which I will describe below.
1-2 cups EV olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
splash of lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic
Crack a raw, pastured egg** in your blender. Add the salt & pepper, garlic cloves, and splash of lemon. Cover the top with the lid and take out the middle insert of the lid so that you can pour in the olive oil.
Turn up the blender speed to medium (about 5-6 on a Vitamix setting). Slowly begin drizzling in the olive oil. I urge you to drizzle the olive oil. I do not measure out my oil. I simply pour the oil until the egg and oil has emulsified and it reaches a thickness I like.
When using the Vitamix, I know the alioli is ready when the blade no longer blends the alioli because the alioli has gotten so thick it has whipped to the edges of the blender sides. This may not happen with your blender. However, you can stop the blender and dip your finger in there to see if it has gotten to your desired consistency.
*Alioli is made from raw eggs. Make sure to store in a sealed jar in the fridge. Use within 2-3 days. Alioli was traditionally prepared fresh and consumed within one sitting.
**Since this recipe calls for the use of a raw egg, I encourage you to get your eggs from a local farmer who has pasture-raised their chickens.
Serves 2-3 people
4 potatoes of your choice
EV olive oil
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the potatoes length-wise, into 1/8″ thick slices. Put them in a mixing bowl. Drizzle olive oil and add salt & pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Slit each potato down the center with two cross-hatch marks and then place on baking sheet. Place in oven and cook for 20-30 min’s or until golden brown on top.
I have to share this picture a friend sent to me yesterday of her recent alioli adventures. I alioli’d her just a couple of weeks ago (smile). She decided to use it as a snacking condiment for raw carrots and fermented rattlesnake weed (or florida betony) root. Well done!