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Aioli is super easy to make and so refreshing and delicious when seasoned with lime. Done in just a few minutes it's the perfect pairing for any type of seafood dish (clams! barbecued shrimp! calamari! fish tacos!) and absolutely gorgeous together with a paella.
What is aioli?
Aioli comes from the Spanish region of Catalanuya where its known as "allioli", which in Catalan basically translates to "garlic oil". And garlic and oil are actually the only two ingredients in the most basic, OG, aioli version. Perhaps seasoned with a dash of salt, nothing else. It's traditionally made the same way as a classic pesto, with a mortar and pestle.
Now the more common version these days is the garlic mayonnaise kind- that is, garlic, oil and whole eggs or egg yolks. Often with some acidic component added - like lemon juice or vinegar - as well as a dash of French mustard. I love both versions, but generally I end up going the garlic mayonnise route - like I did for this lime aioli.
Why I love this lime aioli
- French Dijon mustard and garlic add a bit of a kick
- Lime juice adds acidity and lightness
- Lime zest adds loads of lime flavor
Expert tips for making aioli
- Use a neutral vegetable oil - I like rapeseed oil - and not one with a distinct taste, like olive oil. Or use olive oil, but know that your aioli will taste a lot like olive oil.
- Use a food processor or electric mixer to minimize the risk of the aioli breaking (if it does break anyway - see my tips below!).
- Make sure your ingredients are all roughly the same temperature - since we mix the rest of the ingredients (and thereby heat them up a bit) you mainly need to make sure your oil is about room temperature and you'll be fine.
- Mix the egg yolks with the seasonings before adding the oil - this makes adding the oil without breaking the sauce easier and ensures your flavors are well mixed throughout the sauce, but it also warms up the ingredients so it doesn't matter if you got your eggs and limes out of the fridge just a minute ago or so.
- Add the oil very slowly at first, once you've added a bit and the sauce is starting to look creamy, go ahead and speed it up a bit if you'd like.
- When tasting - don't put the spoon back in the bowl - your saliva contains enzymes that may break the sauce.
- If your aioli should break - don't panic! There are a few ways to solve this. The most succesful way is to just mix up another egg yolk in a separate bowl, and then add in the broken aioli (slowly!). Don't have any more eggs? Use 1-2 teaspoons of water instead of the egg yolk. Not as effective, but often works. Once you've added in all of the broken aioli and it's all nice and un-broken again - go ahead and add in the remaining oil, if there is any.
How to make lime aioli
Mix together, and then start adding the oil - very slowly. Once you've added a bit of oil and the aioli is starting to look creamy, go ahead and speed up a bit if you'd like. Once all the oil is added, your aioli is finished. Go ahead and taste, and adjust seasoning if needed.
Good tools to have
- Food processor or electric mixer
- Garlic press
- Citrus zester
- Citrus juicer
- Stainless steel measuring spoons
Other ways to season your aioli
While I love my lime aioli, here are a few other ideas for how to season your aioli as well as suggestions for what to serve them with:
- Lemon is a nice way to switch this one up - just add lemon zest & juice instead of lime - best served with seafood.
- For a spicy version I do what any semi-trendy Stockholm restaurant has done the past few years - and add Sriracha. A tablespoon or so should do it. Oh and skip the limes and french dijon - and go for a dash of white whine vinegar instead. Serve with chicken, pork, potatoes or shrimp.
- And when I feel indulgent I do what every semi-trendy Stockholm restaurant did before that - and add some white truffle oil. Mix it in with the regular vegetable oil, skip the lime, add a dash of white wine vinegar and get to work. Serve with potatoes or meat.
- Just don't - make a classic aioli by excluding the lime zest & juice from this recipe and adding a dash of white wine vinegar instead. Delicious with shrimp, bread or potatoes. Serve with anything really, but I especially love it as a side for bread.
- And if you're feeling really basic (the good kinda basic that is, no judging!) - skip the lime & garlic, add some white wine vinegar and you have yourself an amazing mayonnaise. Heavy on the french mustard, just the way I like it. Serve with shrimp, bread or on top of egg halves.
What's your favorite type of aioli? Let me know in the comments below! And oh, I'd love for you to leave a rating while you're at it...
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tsp French Dijon mustard or other French mustard
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- 0.25 tsp salt
- 3 dl vegetable oil a neutral kind, eg. rapeseed oil
- Start by placing all ingredients except vegetable oil in a food processor or bowl with high sides. Mix together.
- Then add the vegetable oil very slowly. Once you've added a bit and the aioli is starting to look creamy, you can add it a bit faster. The sauce is ready once all oil has been mixed in.
Equipment needed for this recipe
- Food processor or electric mixer (not required)
- Make sure all ingredients are roughly the same temperature - especially make sure the oil is at room temperature
- If the aioli breaks, place an egg yolk in a separate bowl and mix in the broken aioli slowly, before adding the remaining oil. If you don't have another egg, use 1-2 tsp of water instead.
Nutritional information is approximate and automatically calculated, and should only be viewed as an indication.