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Aioli vs Mayonnaise

Personal  Chef, Freelance Chef, Estate Chef, Private Chef, B&B


It seems culinary terms are thrown about by every Tom, Dick and Harry now. Aioli is seen on almost every menu. The problem, is as with everything, even cooking terms have been “dumbed down” and abused. Any true chef worth their salt knows that there are distinct differences between Aioli and Mayonnaise. Aioli is not just a fancy name for garlic flavoured or infused Mayo.

Aioli is an emulsion of garlic and the very best Olive Oil. The very name translates to garlic oil. Sometimes day old white bread and lemon juice are added. An egg yolk can be used to help stabilization.
Mayonnaise is an emulsion of egg and a neutral oil along with mustard and lemon juice.
A neutral oil is essential in a good mayonnaise whereas good Olive oil is essential for aioli.
Unfortunately Escoffier added an egg, and well he is the “grandfather of modern sauces and cuisine”. The original Provencal recipe did not use it.
Aioli is best used on fish dishes, seafood soups/stews and steamed vegetables. Mortar and pestle really make the best aioli, but you may use a food processor too, although I do find bread is essential with the processor.
Sauce Aioli (mortar and pestle) Recipe:
6 large cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (coarse)
Juice of 1/2 lemon or 2-2 1/2 teaspoons white or champagne vinegar
1/2 slice stale country white bread, crusts removed and broken into small pieces
Pinch of white pepper
3/4 cup/185ml good extra virgin olive oil
In a mortar (not wood), place garlic and crush. Add salt and work into a smooth paste. At this point you can continue in the mortar, but it will be easier in a non-reactive bowl. Add lemon and mix well. You may now add bread if you want (you shouldn’t need to). Slowly, drop by drop add the olive oil while whisking vigorously with a whisk. Once you get 1/2 of the oil in you can pour the remainder in a steady stream while whisking. The result will be a pale yellow/green sauce. It will not be thick like a mayonnaise.
Mayonnaise (hand method) Recipe:
1 egg yolk (room temperature)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 cup-1 cup 185-250ml canola or neutral oil
In a non-reactive bowl add the egg, lemon juice salt and pepper. Whisk until pale and golden (30-60 seconds). Drop by drop whilst whisking add the oil. Once you get to halfway you may start slowly pouring in a steady stream the remaining oil all the while whisking away until you get a thick and rich mayonnaise. Add herbs or other flavours at this point.
Sauce Aioli (food processor) Recipe:
1 stale country white bread crust removed
1 tablespoon/15ml milk
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 egg yolk, room temp
1 tablespoon/15ml lemon juice
3/4 cup/185ml good extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons warm water or fish stock (optional)
Break up bread and soak in milk for about 5 minutes. Thoroughly squeeze liquid out of the bread. Pulverize bread, garlic and salt in a food processor by pulsing for 2-3 times. Add egg and lemon running for 10-20 seconds. Pour in drop by drop the olive oil while machine is running until it has turned into a heavy cream at which time you can drizzle the remainder of the oil while running the processor continually. If not a sauce like consistency add water or stock while machine is running 1 teaspoon at a time.


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