Jalapeños and lime go together like salt and pepper and they certainly give this Jalapeno aioli a kick to the tastebuds. Don’t eat this before going on a first date, or for a new job interview, as your garlic breath will be potent enough to keep even the most bloodthirsty of vampires away (and by “vampires” I mean those scary creatures of Dracula, Salem’s Lot and 30 days of night; NOT the shiny, glittering, hair-always-in-the-right-place, lovelorn specimens of, say, the Twilight Saga 🙂 Just sayin’)
I have a confession to make….
For a long time I believed aioli to be nothing more than pimped-out garlic mayonnaise; it was simply a showy name reserved for restaurants and advertising campaigns. So, when I came up with this recipe, I thought of it as a simple variation of garlic mayonnaise and changed the name to “Aioli” to make it sound fancy.
However my apparent “misconception” has not always been welcomed with enthusiastic agreement and I have been indignantly told, on numerous occasions, that aioli is most certainly NOT GARLIC MAYONNAISE! Alright, chill out dude!
So, naturally, I was hesitant to name it Aioli and decided to call upon Google to do a little research. Like any discussion on so called “traditional” or “authentic” recipes there are sooooooooo many opposing opinions: it is from the Catalan region of Spain, it’s from France; it SHOULD be made with egg yolks; It SHOULD NOT be made with egg yolks, and so on.
Anyway, here is what I have found from sources I (personally) deem reliable. These include:
- Julia Child and her legendary cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1
- Colman Andrews ( writer, editor and renowned Spanish cuisine expert) and his book Catalan Cuisine: Vivid Flavors from Spain’s Mediterranean Coast. Note, I am yet to own this book – following my research it is now on the “to buy” list – I obtained the needed information through the wonder that is Google books. (Found pages 29 and 30)
Aioli vs Garlic mayonnaise – Let the Battle begin!
The first problem I found when discussing the entire Aioli/ Mayonnaise issue is that there are two foods with very similar names and this must be (?) where some of the confusion has originated from:
- Aioli – Ai-oh-lee;
- Allioli/ Alioli – Al-ee-oh-lee
Split the name up and you get “All”, “i”, and “oli” which translates from Spanish as “Garlic”, “and”, “Oil”. According to Colman Andrews this is the traditional Catalan sauce accompanying most meals and is made with garlic (lots of it), olive oil, and nothing else; just as the name suggests. Andrews also goes on to say that modern practices do add other ingredients, such as vinegar and lemon juice to add acidity, but this is not traditional. The addition of bread and egg yolks? No, don’t even think about it. Even if this is performed and traded off as “authentic” Catalan Allioli, it is not.
In his book, Andrews quotes a Catalan local as saying an Allioli with egg yolks is nothing more than “‘fancy mayonnaise’”
Colman Andrews describes Aioli as a relative of the Catalan Allioli, originating from the region of Provençal (Provence) is Southeastern France. This does include egg yolks so, by the Catalan manner of thinking, it falls into the category of “fancy mayonnaise”. To complement this, Julia Child, in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, describes Aioli as “Provençal Garlic mayonnaise” and many other sources, including Jamie Oliver, describes aioli as a “type of mayonnaise”. So, nah nah nah nah nah,this suggests aioli IS GARLIC MAYONNAISE.
What about the Oil?
I have frequently read arguments concerning the oil used in making these various sauces; on some forums it is clearly stated authentic mayonnaise SHOULD NOT be made with Olive oil but other, lighter oils such as those from vegetables.
However take, for example, a frequent origin story of mayonnaise in which it was created by the chef of the Duc de Richelieu following a victory in battle against the British. In this story the sauce is made with Olive oil. Julia Child’s mayonnaise, as with many other recipes, is also made with Olive oil. I too have made many batches of Mayonnaise with various oils and all have been successful.
From this I suggest all these sauces are more authentic if made WITH Olive oil and that any other oil is simply a lighter – or perhaps cheaper – alternative.
So what is the difference?
In my (extremely) humble opinion, I have concluded the following descriptions:
Mayonnaise: An emulsion of egg yolks and oil with the addition of mustard and an acidifying agent such as lemon juice or vinegar. Originating from France, region and time still disputed.
Aioli: Originating from Southeastern France, a garlic variation of Mayonnaise. This is also an emulsion of egg yolks and oil with the addition of Garlic instead of mustard. Like Mayonnaise, modern practices have added additional ingredients and flavours which obscure the lines of authenticity and difference even more – as with any “authentic” recipe.
Allioli/ Alioli: Originating from the Catalan region of Northern Spain, it is a sauce made from Oil, Garlic (plus a little salt) and nothing else.
But, really (he says after writing an essay length post) who cares? This is the wonder and enjoyment of creating food; everyone has their own preferences,style and creativity. If a meal tastes great and you enjoyed it, who cares if it is “authentic” or not. We shouldn’t be arguing over what makes a true Aioli or mayonnaise – you should see some of the arguments on forums about it, it gets brutal! – but more about what makes ours different and, perhaps, better! And that is why this recipe is called Mayoli: It’s not strictly mayonnaise, or aioli, but a hybrid combination of my own design.
So, finally, I won’t keep you much longer and you can go and make this amazing MAYOLI!
Making the Lime and Jalapeño Aioli
Now, about the garlic, the first step in making this recipe. It needs to me made into thick paste but, if possible, I want you to step away from the food processor and/or blender. Although an easier option these machines tend to heat the garlic up in the process, making it bitter to taste (the exact reasons for this I’m yet to find out – Do you know? Please share in the comments below).
Instead use a pestle and mortar. One of the reasons for garlic having such explosive flavour, and vampire repelling powers, is because of an organic compound known as allicin (we’re getting technical now, I promise you the recipe is not too far away). This is made when the garlic’s cell structure is damaged, say by cutting or mincing, and the compound Allin and the enzyme alliinase come into contact. By using a pestle and mortar – a slower method of breaking the garlic down – you are giving these compounds more time to react with one another which equals more garlicky punch!
If you do not have a mortar and pestle, slice up the garlic cloves, place them in a zip-lock food bag and grind them with a rolling pin; or, if you do not have the same frustrations as I do with a garlic press, use that instead.
Working with egg yolks can be a bit tricky and there is always the chance of curdling somewhere down the line. If your Mayoli does curdle don’t panic, and certainly don’t throw it out in a tantrum as I have done before, since it is easily fixed. In a clean bowl add an egg yolk and whisk until it becomes thick. Now proceed like the recipe again but, this time, adding the curdled mixture instead of just the oil. Simples.
Can’t decide which oil to use? I’ve made this with several types of olive vegetable oil. All of them have created the same results but I found dark, extra-virgin, olive oils create a strong “olive oil” flavour (who knew?). It overpowers the garlic and other ingredients and tastes like you’re drinking olive oil straight from the bottle. I suggest using a lighter coloured oil – sometimes packaged as Spanish Olive oil – and you’ll be good to go.Print
Lime and Jalapeño Aioli
Jalapeños and lime go together like salt and pepper and they certainly give this lime an jalapeno aioli a kick to the tastebuds
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups
- 4 – 6 Garlic cloves, depending on you
- Pinch – 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Two egg yolks
- 150ml of Oil (variety chosen by you)
- 2 – 3 Tbsp Lime juice
- 1 – 3 Tbsp of finely chopped Jalapeño peppers (depending on your chilli tolerance – see note)
- 1 Tsp of ground black pepper
- In a mortar and pestle, squish the garlic cloves into a smooth-isn paste
- In a bowl – not metal – whisk the egg yolks and salt together for about a minute until they become thick.
- Here comes the tricky part, you may want to find yourself a helper for this. Whilst continuously whisking, add the oil a few drops at a time. Do not add more oil until the drops have been incorporated into the egg yolks.
- Once the mixture becomes thickened, like cream, add the lime juice and whisk to combine. Now add the remaining oil, in larger, 1 – 3 tablespoon, batches.
- When all the oil has been added stir in the black pepper and chopped Jalapeños. It can be stored in an airtight container – or sterilised jar – in the refrigerator for 2 – 4 weeks.
A rough guide for the amount of Jalapeño chills:
- 1/2 Tbsp – Very mild
- 1 Tbsp – Mild
- 2 Tbsp – Medium
- 3 Tbsp – Hot(ish)