Your new secret weapon: Aioli
There are two times of the year when we seek to test our culinary mettle against friends and family: the winter holiday and grilling season. While we resort to time-honored family recipes in the winter, summer favors variety and experimentation, often in the form of handheld meals that cry out for a little something extra . . . perhaps a little hidden moisture that pushes the dish into mouth-watering territory. Forget the mayo, reach for the aioli.
For those who don’t know, aioli is a slightly garlicky mayonnaise. It seems insignificant, but that humble addition is the foundation for so much. I can’t think of a single “artisan” or “upscale” sandwich I’ve ordered in years that didn’t have aioli on it. You can add chopped herbs for a fresh and bright condiment, mustard to make remoulade, sardines to add a touch of briny salt, or any other seasoning to make your burgers something people reminisce about in the fall. The best part? If you have a food processor, the entire process takes less than 5 minutes, and requires no recipe.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1 medium clove of garlic, 2 pasteurized egg yolks, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Process this mixture until well combined and the mixture lightens in color. Once the mixture lightens, begin slowly drizzling in an oil of your choice in a steady stream, stopping if you see the oil pool at all before incorporating. Continue until the mixture reaches a thick, mayonnaise-like consistency.
If you plan on flavoring your aioli, a neutral, odorless oil is recommended. If your aioli does not thicken, it is because you added your oil too quickly. Pour your aioli base into another vessel, add 2 new egg yolks to the food processor bowl, and start again, using the aioli base instead of oil. Be sure to take it slower this time. You can use non-pasteurized egg yolks if pasteurized eggs or yolks are not available, but do so at your own risk. Your aioli will keep for one month in an airtight container in the refrigerator.