Aioli is one of those magic sauces, equally at home with both fried foods and poached meats. It is a Spanish garlic mayonnaise — aioli requires garlic to be an aioli — to which I’ve added some saffron for color and flavor.
Traditional aioli uses just garlic and olive oil, but getting it to properly emulsify can be tricky; I do it occasionally, but adding an egg yolk makes things a lot easier.
My advice is to use the lower end of the variable ingredients — garlic and lemon juice — the first time you make this. Two large garlic cloves in this recipe will make a powerful aioli, and you might not want things that, well, loud. And remember you can always add a little lemon at the end.
Since this aioli will keep in the fridge for several days, it is good to have around when you plan on eating fried food. I also like it with very simply poached meats, especially any breast from an upland game bird: turkey, pheasant, partridge, etc. It also works well with chicken or any white fish.
Makes about a cup
- 1-2 minced garlic cloves
- 1-2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- Large pinch of saffron threads
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Crumble the saffron threads into the hot water in a small bowl. Let them steep 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a blender, briefly buzz the garlic, lemon juice, salt and egg yolks to combine. Add the saffron and the water and buzz until smooth.
- With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until the whole thing emulsifies into a mayonnaise-like consistency.
- Taste for salt and acid, adding a little lemon juice and salt if needed.
- Serve the aioli cold. It should last in the fridge for several days.