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 saffron aioli. Two large garlic cloves in this recipe will make a powerful sauce, and you might not want things that, well, loud. And remember you can always add a little lemon at the end.
What to serve your saffron aioli with? Well, pictured are salt cod fritters, which are traditional. Some other good choices would be fish and chips, or fried quail. Generally anything fried you eat with your fingers.
Once made, your aioli will keep for a week or so in the fridge. It does not freeze well, however.
- 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.