This lime and jalapeno aioli is a spicy, tango flavor combo that will deliver one helluva kick to your taste buds. 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! Lime and jalapeno aioli for the win!
I have a confession to make….
For a long time, I thought aioli was nothing more than pimped out garlic mayonnaise: a showy name reserved for billboards and restaurant menus. So, when I came up with the whole lime and jalapeno aioli thing, I thought it a simple variation of garlic mayonnaise and changed the name to “Aioli”, you know, to make it sound fancy.
However, my apparent “misconception” of aioli has not always been welcomed with enthusiastic agreement and I have been indignantly told, on numerous occasions, by several people, that aioli is most certainly NOT GARLIC MAYONNAISE! Alright, calm down!
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 and their names, there were so many opinions out there: “it is from the Catalan region of Spain” “No! It’s from France” “It SHOULD be made with egg yolks” “It SHOULD NOT be made with egg yolks”
You get the picture. So what was I to do, call it jalapeno aioli, or jalapeno mayonnaise? I kept searching:
And here is what I have found from sources I (personally) deem more reliable than the comments sections of various social media platforms and/ or discussion forums. These include:
- Julia Child and her (in my opinion) 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 Flavours from Spain’s Mediterranean Coast.
Aioli vs Garlic Mayonnaise – Let the Battle begin!
The first problem I found when discussing the entire aioli vs 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 have “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? Don’t even think about it. Even if this is 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) in South-eastern 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, in fact, GARLIC MAYONNAISE.
But then again (he says after researching and writing an aioli vs mayonnaise essay-like blog post) who actually cares? Even you purists out there: do you really care about what it is called?
Because this is the wonder and enjoyment of creating and eating and enjoying 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!
So, lime and jalapeno aioli or lime and jalapeno mayonnaise, whatever you want to call it, the bottom line is this: it’s awesome and delicious and you should make lime and jalapeno aioli now!
How to make Lime and Jalapeno Aioli
This lime and jalapeno aioli is surprisingly easy and can be completed in about fifteen minutes from start to finish (make that ten if you use an electric beater which I highly recommend); Egg yolks are whisked until thick, oil is slowly added to create an emulsion; garlic, lime juice, lime zest and chopped (or minced) jalapenos are added for that zingy-spicy flavour; more oil added until the desired consistency is reached.
Which oil to use?
I have frequently read arguments concerning the oil to use when making aioli and/ or mayonnaise. Here’s my take on it:
A regular origin story of mayonnaise says it was created by the chef of the Duc de Richelieu following a victory in the 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.
However, I have found dark, extra-virgin, olive oils create a strong “olive oil” flavor (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 flavored olive oil – sometimes packaged as Spanish live oil – and you’ll be good to go, or something lighter such as vegetable oil.
Before the garlic teams up with the jalapenos and lime to create flavor combo awesomeness, it needs to be made into a thick paste and, 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.
Instead, use a pestle and mortar. One of the reasons for garlic having such explosive flavor, 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.
The Egg Yolks and the Oil
Working with egg yolks can be a bit tricky and there is always the chance of curdling somewhere down the line. So if your aioli 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.
Now go and make yourself a batch of this lime and jalapeno aioli and achieve all you aioli (or garlic mayonnaise) life goals!
Lime and Jalapeño Aioli
This lime and jalapeno aioli comes with a spicy-tangy flavor combo that will deliver one helluva kick to your taste buds!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 250ml to 350ml (1 – 1.5 cups) of light olive oil or vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp Lime juice
- 1 tsp grated lime zest
- 2 Tbsp of finely chopped (or minced – see note) Jalapenos
- 1 Tsp of ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp boiling water
- In a mortar and pestle, squish the garlic cloves into a smooth-isn paste: alternatively, thinly slice the cloves, place in a Ziploc bag, and squish with a rolling pin.
- In a non-metallic bowl, whisk the egg yolks 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 125ml (1/2 cup) of the oil, a few drops at a time, adding no more oil until the drops have been fully incorporated.
- Stir in the garlic, lime juice, lime zest, jalapenos, and black pepper. Now add the remaining oil, in larger, 1 – 3 tablespoon, batches until it reaches your desired consistency
- Whisk in the boiling water. Check seasonings. Can be stored in an airtight container – or sterilised jar – in the refrigerator for 2 – 4 weeks.
If you mince the jalapenos, their flavour – and spiciness will be incorporated throughout the aioli. However, using diced jalapenos, you will get these small little crunchy bursts of jalapeno fire power and flavour. It’s up to you!