Sunday, May 18, 2008

Eggless Aioli (Page 889)

  • Date: Saturday, May 10, 2008 -- 7pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Fellow Chefs: Alex and Gunther
  • Dining Companions: Matt, Mike, Matty, Ricky, Ana, Craig, Grace, Angelica, Jenny, Vero, and Pam
  • Recipe Rating: D

This is the last mayonnaise-based sauce from the mayo tasting last weekend. (Since this ailoi was eggless it is a bit of a stretch to call it mayo-based, but we're just going to ignore that...) Sadly, this is not a case of saving the best for last. This ailoi was not delicious. It received almost exclusively C, D, and F ratings from the tasting crew. Perhaps Mike summarized it best -- alongside his grade of an F he wrote, "Honestly bad."

Looking at the ingredients it is challenging to guess that this would have turned out badly. There were only three ingredients in this dish: garlic, salt, and olive oil. Sounds good, no? But already one might become skeptical of this eggless version when one realizes that somehow those three ingredients are supposed to come together into a smooth, thick sauce. Hmmm... Why does aioli usually have a egg or egg yolk in it? Well, it's because otherwise it is very difficult to emulsify garlic into oil.

A big group of us were cooking on Saturday, and Alex and Gunther did battle with this recipe, attempting to emulsify the garlic in the oil for upwards of an hour. The Book says that this eggless version of aioli is "notoriously tricky to make," and after our experience with it, I don't think either Alex or Gunther would disagree. Despite much pulverization with a mortar and pestle, this sauce would simply not thicken. The Book says that 15 minutes of constant and vigorous stirring and mashing will do it, but it just didn't happen. Alex and Gunther put way more than 15 minutes into their attempt, and even after all that time it was barely thicker than the oil they started with. To end up with the nice thickness of sauce that you see in the picture above, they ended up adding more garlic and blending. So the end result was more garlicky than it should have been, but had about the right consistency. I didn't taste the "sauce" (aka garlicky oil) before the additional garlic was added, but after enough garlic was added to get the right consistency it was definitely too garlicky. I love garlic, but this sauce was a challenge to eat.

My real question is, why make an eggless aioli anyway? The egg makes it so much easier to produce a sauce that it smooth and delicious, and I just don't see what the downside it. The Book claims that the flavor of the garlic is "more robust" in this version, but I found the Quick Aioli plenty robust. In summary, save yourself a headache and skip this recipe.

That should be easy to do because this recipe isn't online.


Mike Hill said...

I can't help but notice that you included my comment (yay!) but totally cut me out of the list of people with whom you ate during the mayo tasting party!

Teena said...

I can't believe I did that! Sorry Mike. Clearly I remembered that you were there since I talked about you, and listed your sister! In any event, I fixed it now.