Published July 1, 2005.
When making this French condiment, the key is to avoid a bitter garlic aftertaste.
Aïoli is a quick emulsion sauce that by tradition is the centerpiece of a simple supper served with cooked vegetables and potatoes and steamed fish. When it's made badly, the overwhelming impression is one of garlic: bitter, sharp, and long-lasting.
We wanted each of the four primary ingredients in aïoli--olive oil, garlic, egg yolk, and lemon juice--to come together into a smooth-tasting and smooth-textured condiment.
The garlic was our biggest challenge. We found that a fine, even mince maintained the smooth texture of the sauce and prevented oversized garlic bombs that exploded in the mouth. A good garlic press or a rasp-style zester/grater ensured an acceptable mince. We also scaled back the quantity of garlic--a single clove gave the aïoli a pleasant, not shocking, heat. Finally, we balanced the sour lemon juice with a little sugar and used mild regular olive oil instead of the traditional extra-virgin choice. Armed with a food processor, we whip our aïoli together in just 30 seconds.list of recipes