The last time I tried to make aioli, it was 2006. Shane and I had only been dating a few months, and I was living in an apartment with a kitchen that I’m 90% sure had previously been a closet. On the night in question, we made fish cakes from my Spanish cookbook and asparagus, both a great success, but the aioli (or allioli in Catalan) was just a soupy oily mess. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but for five years I tried not to think about it.
That is, until Friday night, when I was trying to come up with a horseradish condiment for the birthday hot dog spread – and decided to take another stab at aioli.
And oh. my. god. did I make some sexy mayonnaise. The key – and perhaps what went wrong the first time – is time. If you want sexy mayonnaise, you gotta take it slow. Add the yolks and the vinegar to the mixer and turn the beaters up all the way, then at an impossibly slow pace, drizzle in the olive oil. You might get bored standing there, measuring cup in hand, but it will be so worth it when you see the yolk, oil, and vinegar start to bind together and get creamy. Whip in a bit of water, then add horseradish to taste – but not too much, as the flavors will mellow in the fridge. And then slather it on anything you’d like – a fancy hot dog, perhaps? A breakfast sandwich? – or add it to cole slaw for a subtle kick. I had to use a bit of regular mayo in the cole slaw, and let me tell you, once you’ve had sexy mayo, there’s no going back.
Recipe adapted from A Cat in the Kitchen
2 egg yolks
200 ml mild olive oil
1 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp warm water
2 tbsp prepared horseradish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Using a stand mixer or electric beater, whip egg yolks and vinegar together. Drizzle the olive oil into the mixing bowl in a thin stream, beating constantly. This should take several minutes. When light and creamy, add a tablespoon of cold water, still beating constantly. Add horseradish a half tablespoon at a time, beating constantly, more or less to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste, then refrigerate. Makes between 1.5-2 cups of the sexiest mayonnaise you’ll ever taste.