Aioli

Okay, now I fear I’m coming very close to being considered a veritable font of hyperbole and exaggeration so I worry that you won’t believe me when I tell you that the addition of this one single side dish to your life will absolutely change you and your world for the better. Guaranteed. Irrevocably. Aioli is rivaled only by truffles and foie gras for being the most exquisite thing you can put in your mouth (and nobody has to die from an exploding liver in the process. Win-win.) It has only three ingredients: olive oil, garlic and an egg. It is so sublime in its simplicity that you will be shocked to discover it is extremely difficult to make. I, for one, have never mastered it. My husband, thankfully, has. Either learn how to do it or marry you someone who can do it. It’s important.

Aioli is magic on anything. The French dollop it on toasted bread and float it in their soups. They drop it on fish, veggies, meat, egg dishes–you name it, it makes everything better. If all this weren’t enough, it has healing powers. I kid you not. In our house, if someone has a sore throat coming on, my husband drags out the mortar and pestle and begins the process of making them well (and delighting the rest of us in the bargain.) Whether it’s the garlic or the wonderful taste, I can’t say (my husband says it’s the garlic), but it works, I swear and you can ask anyone I almost hardly ever, like never, swear, normally. Ever.

To try to make it yourself, take a room-temperature egg and set aside. Using the mortar and pestle, pound 3 peeled garlic cloves to mush. Add in the egg yolk (NOT the white) and then the olive oil–drop by drop–until the stuff emulsifies. At this point, my husband switches to a food processor, scraping it into the processor and drop-drop-drop-dropping the oil thru the little funnel thingy. You can go a little faster at this point in the oil-pouring but be forewarned: pour too much oil in and the whole thing “breaks” and you’re left with watery eggy oil. I’m told it can still be rescued at this point if it does break but it usually involves another egg yolk (you did bring two out, didn’t you?) and more tedious drop by dropping. Mind you, it’s worth it. Or, you could just go to YouTube and watch the videos of the masters do it. It didn’t help me but hopefully it will with you.
Trust me, if you can get it to work–it’s life-changing in its awesomeness.

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