During the month or so I’ve worked at Heirloom, I learned that making aioli is either an art form or a science…or both. Either way, almost everyone messes up their first attempt. At school, we had to make hollandaise and mayonnaise by hand multiple times, tasting them the whole way. Hollandaise, mayonnaise, vinaigrettes, and aioli are all made through the same process: emulsification.
The process of emulsifying combines two ingredients that are not friends (example: oil and vinegar in vinaigrette or mayonnaise). To create an emulsion, one must whip one ingredient while slowly adding the other.
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
ground white pepper (you can use black pepper, but you will see it in your finished product)
3 egg yolks
3 cups vegetable oil
optional: crushed garlic to taste
Put all of your ingredients except the oil in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whip attachment. If you do not have a mixer or are feeling adventurous, you can easily do this by hand. You may mess it up once or twice if you are not careful. Whip these ingredients up a little bit on medium and leave the mixer on.
Begin to slowly stream in the oil. At first you may only want to add a drop at a time and wait for the drop to emulsify. If you put in all the oil or too much at once, the mixture will whip up, but will not emulsify. The trick here is to whip quickly enough to suspend the oil in the egg yolk/vinegar mixture.
When the mixture begins to thicken and get lighter in color, the liquids are emulsifying. You may begin a steady stream of oil.
You will reach a point where the mixture resembles mayonnaise, but all the oil has not been added. At this point, you may add as much oil as you wish. Since the liquids formed an emulsion, you cannot break it by adding too much oil.
In the end, if your aioli is too stiff you can add a little water and whip some more. The goal is to have a light, fluffy aioli.
Your aioli should look something like this! Tasty.
Flavor with herbs or garlic and use in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches or in salad dressings!