This thick, mayonnaise like sauce is not for the faint-hearted. It is
often served in the south of France as an accompaniment for what is
called a grand aioli, a mammoth meal consisting of soaked and poached
salt cod, snails and boiled eggs and sometimes shrimp, mussels, and
other shellfish, along with a vast assortment of steamed vegetables. It
is also an essential part of a bourride, a terrific fish stew usually
made with monkfish or other firm white fish. I think it is also
delicious with cold roast meats, while a spoonful or two in a baked
potato is truly wonderful. One word of warning: everyone at the table
has to indulge since this sauce is cooking with garlic personified and
would probably overwhelm any nonparticipant.
Makes about 2 cups
6 to 8 medium size to large cloves garlic, mashed to a paste in a
mortar with a pestle and a little salt or very finely minced
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons boiling water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1.5 cups olive oil
Place the garlic and egg yolks in a
blender. Blend in short bursts until smooth. Turn the blender on again
and add the boiling water in a thin stream.
Season with salt and pepper and add the
lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Turn the blender on and add the oil in
a very thin stream, just a little at the beginning, a litter faster as
the sauce begins to thicken. The garlic sauce should become thick and
fluffy like mayonnaise.
Set the aioli aside for an hour to let the flavor develop. Serve this
simple garlic cooking recipes at room temperature.
The traditional method for making aioli
calls for beating the sauce in a mortar, with the water added a little
at a time, along with the lemon juice, after about one third of the oil
has been incorporated. Here I have used the blender, which generally
keeps the sauce from separating, and I have incorporated hot water,
which should raise the temperature of the egg yolks high enough to
eliminate the risk of salmonella. Some recipes call for adding a little
mashed potato at the end, making a thicker garlic sauce and probably holding
it in emulsion, but I prefer it this way.
If the sauce separates, it can usually be
reconstituted by beating 1 large egg yolk and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
together in a clean bowl and then beating the separated sauce in to the
egg, a little bit at a time, until it is thick and fluffy again.