Saturday, September 12, 2009

allioli lessons

failed allioli i

I was inspired by this lying blog post to try making allioli with my Bamix; you can see the result above. I wound up with slightly thickened olive oil with a layer of garlic purée on top. My dinner guests politely poured it on their stripy-pan vegetables, but I was disappointed--not least by the waste of so much of my nice Spanish olive oil.

rachael and dakki

On my next day off, I decided to try to turn the garlicky oil into allioli by starting from scratch with my mortar and pestle, dripping it drop by drop into two fresh garlic cloves. At first, all went well. I know from sad experience that it's really crucial to add the oil slowly--much more so than when making mayonnaise. I was about fifteen minutes into the process, and had added about three quarters of my oil, when I got over-confident and poured in a teaspoon or so all at once. I frantically beat with my pestle, but the allioli broke.

failed allioli ii

I started a third time with just one clove of garlic, and this time I had success: a nice, thick, smooth sauce that's still emulsified a day later. Here's how I will do it in the future:


2 cloves garlic
big pinch of salt
a few drops of lemon juice
1C fruity olive oil

allioli i

Crush the garlic and salt together thoroughly in your big mortar and pestle. Add the lemon juice, then add the oil a drop at a time, stirring constantly with your pestle. You don't have to stir very fast, tiring yourself out: just be sure that the oil gets mixed in.

allioli ii

After you've added about a quarter of a cup, you can start pouring the oil in a thin stream, but be sure not to let your hand tip! You'll end up with a very stiff sauce, which you can lighten with a teaspoon or so of water if you like.

successful allioli

Lessons I learned:
  • Allioli's not as hard to make as some say: it just requires some time and a steady hand.
  • You can pause in the middle of the process. I stopped several times to wash off my pestle when it got too greasy and slippery.
  • If it should break, you can start over with a new clove of garlic. It won't take as long the second time, because you can add entire clots of broken allioli without fear of breaking it again.

1 comment:

joannamauselina said...

It really was tasty despite being runny. I am eager to test the successful version.