The first time I tried to make aioli (a.k.a. garlic mayonnaise), a couple of years ago, the mixture never thickened. I was left with a big, messy bowl of soupy, garlic-flavored egg yolk and oil and a heavy feeling of failure. But that earlier defeat only heightened my sense of triumph at creating a truly delicious, perfectly balanced, lemon aioli last weekend!
I had always suspected that my first attempt failed because I had not drizzled the oil in slowly enough to allow for the emulsion to form properly so this time I made sure to pour the oil into the food processor in a tiny, steady stream. Et voilà, a mere three minutes later — a lovely bowl of golden deliciousness.
I had planned to roast some beets and potatoes to dip in this dangerously addictive sauce and decided at the last minute to steam some asparagus, too, since the local offerings have been so tasty these last few weeks — my little way of tipping my hat to spring.
The combination of the sweet, earthy beets, crispy, salty potatoes and the fresh umami (which is Japanese for “pleasant savory taste”) of the asparagus with the lemon aioli is, well, awesome.
While none of these components is particularly time-consuming or challenging to assemble, there is a fair amount of slicing and dicing involved, as well as some roasting time. But you could easily just do one or two of the veggies with the aioli if you’re in a rush.
Next: The recipe