French Aioli Made With Irish Ingredients Is The Best Of Both Worlds
Have you ever had French aioli? If not, it's one of summer's basic pleasures. Read on.
Yesterday was Bastille Day and we were having a barbeque at some friends house. It’s a regular occurence and we all bring something and that way no one has to do all the work and no one bears the expense of the evenings by themselves. It’s been my favourite Bastille Day in years. I got to cook, eat and chat into the night. I was bringing the meat (grilled chicken and marinated pork steak) and I decided to bring some french aioli.
After nearly 19 years away from France, Ireland is home and my heart is here to stay, but it has been a tumultuous journey. Friends have come and gone with relationships and life in general and I’ve struggled with that feeling of not belonging which I’m sure an awful lot of expats are familiar with. You’re no longer at home where you come from, but you still can feel quite isolated in your adoptive country. As I’ve found my place in Ireland and in life in general, I find my cooking style has changed with my sense of community and how I feel in general. As I feel more and more like I belong and I have found my people, I have moved towards a more communal type of cooking. It’s more small plates, shared dishes, dips, big bowls, finger food, pull apart bread than a big plate. Food with no notion, food with heart, food to be shared. Communal eating is a big deal in France and when I find people that enjoy it as much as I do, I am in a happy place. This is why French aioli was perfect for last night’s dinner.
I made a whole jar of it and we all dove in with pepper sticks, crusty bread slices and a few crackers. It makes for a wonderful snack while you wait for your starters. Traditionally, it is served with large platters of seafood. Although technically a mayonaise, French aioli is treated like a dip rather than a condiment. Personally, I love it best with chips. Taste of my childhood summer. Greasy, salty fingers and blue skies, smell of the water nearby.
Since, I got so cross about the croffle earlier in the week, I have been thinking about what French recipes could be improved by using the very best of Irish products. French aioli was a perfect place to start. Made with happy eggs, organic Irish rapeseed oil ( not to everyone’s taste but I’m a fan) and Achill Island Seasalt, it marries French tradition with Irish craft.
Good To Know
- This will only ever be as good as the garlic you use. The fresher and younger garlic will give you by far the best flavour
- If you don’t have rapeseed oil, don’t worry at all, just use any vegetable or nut oil you may have. Avoid olive oil if you can, it’s not that it will taste bad, but the olive oil will over power the flavour of the French aioli.
- Although it is far easier to use an electric whisk, a manual one and some elbow grease will do just the trick.
- Traditionally, French aioli was made use a pestle and mortar, but if you don’t have one simply grate your garlic.
- The below measurements made up a Bonne Maman jam jar worth of the dip.
- The more oil you add the thicker the aioli gets. This is the reason why it’s important to only dribble it in as it allows you to control the consistency of the finished product.
- This will keep in the fridge in an air tight container up to a week (depending of your fridge and the conditions it’s stored in).
- 2 large cloves of fresh garlic (I used French purple garlic)
- 2 large egg yolks
- Irish rapeseed oil (I used about a third of a 500 ml bottle)
- Flaky sea salt
- Peel your garlic and pound it with the pestle and mortar until it’s turned into a fine paste. This takes a bit of effort so don’t despair. The younger the garlic the firmer (but the tastier) it is.
- Mix the garlic paste with the two egg yolks.
- Once they are fully incorporated you can start dribbling the oil and mixing it in. The acid in the garlic will start the emulsifying process and the oil helps the sauce mounting. The French aioli will thicken as you add more and more oil.
- Add the salt and give it another stir. You’re done.