What Is an Aioli?

December 27, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

You may have heard of aioli before, but you’re not entirely sure what it is.

Perhaps you’ve ordered it as a sauce for your 100% pure beef patty burger. It looks just like mayonnaise and even has the same consistency, but there’s definitely a difference in the taste.

What is aioli sauce?

Aioli, just like mayonnaise, is an emulsion, but these two sauces have distinctly different flavors. Another key difference is that mayonnaise is made with canola oil, while aioli is made using olive oil. 

In simple terms, an emulsion is a process of mixing two liquids that generally don’t mix well. Take oil and water, for example. These two liquids generally don’t mix well with each other. The oil may end up sitting on top of the water. There are two different kinds of emulsions: temporary and permanent. 

In the case of mayonnaise, oil is emulsified with eggs and some acids, such as vinegar or lemon juice. This is known as a permanent emulsion. It is the lecithin in egg yolk that keeps this emulsion permanent. On the other hand, aioli is an emulsion of oil and garlic. That is why there is such a pungent garlic aroma to the aioli. It is also a permanent emulsion.

The name aioli is a mixture of two words that translates to mean oil and garlic mixture, and the word is from Catalan and Provencal languages. The sauce originated out of the Mediterranean and quickly became very popular in French cuisine and American dishes as a side sauce. 

How is aioli made?

We will look at a very simple aioli recipe. Egg yolk and olive oil are emulsified and then generously seasoned with salt, lemon juice, garlic, and Dijon mustard. 

Start the process by blending the egg yolks, Dijon mustard, garlic, and salt. Then, set the blades to run slowly, and in a very thin stream, add the olive over a period of approximately one to two minutes, ensuring that the mixture is blended slowly, to create the thick, creamy, aioli sauce. If the oil is added too fast or too much is added at once, the emulsion will break, and you will need to start over again. 

What is the traditional aioli sauce?

The traditional form of this sauce included only olive oil and mashed garlic. 

The original version was made using a mortar and pestle, and the oil would be mashed into the garlic with a little bit of salt added. 

The original recipe has undergone some changes, and today, a variety of other ingredients are added to the mixture, and the mixing process has also changed. In some cases, aioli is simply an emulsified mayonnaise with added garlic and not a true aioli as in the Mediterranean version. 

How do you enjoy aioli?

Aioli is great as a sauce on your favorite sandwich or burger. You could eat it with seafood, fries, or fried food, or supplement it with mayo in a traditional tuna mayo or chicken mayo salad. 

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