Aioli, in French l'aïoli originally was a sauce composed of olive oil and garlic that are emulsified together with a mortar and pestle. A mortar is a bowl that generally has ridges inside of it that aid in grinding spices or herbs. A pestle is a shaped like a miniature baseball bat that is used to strike inside the bowl, will release the juices from the garlic and emuslify them with the olive oil. This is a tedius process that requires a lot of practice and patience. A true aioli is a labor of love. The end results are supposed to be rich, subtle and aluring.
I know you are dying to jump in there are start on your first aioli. I suggest you start with making a homemade mayonaise first. I realised I had been in France too long when I reached for the mayonaise in the fridge, didn't have enough and decided to make some more instead of running to the store. I'm glad I did. I don't know if i will ever buy maynaise again. It's so easy. I'll share my recipe with you. Maybe in about twenty years when I have a beach cottage in south of France, I'll get cracking on my aioli.
Here is my recipe and a photo of the end result.
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (you can use whatever salt you have)
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 lemon (juice of one lemon)
pinch of sugar
1 clove garlic (peel and chop)
Fresh ground pepper
I use a handheld stick blender, but you could use a regular blender or beat by hand but be prepared for a workout!
Put the two egg yolks in your mixing bowl. Add the salt,lemon juice, garlic, sugar and blend in light pulses. When that is all incorporated and a little foamy, slowly drizzle in the olive oil a little at a time. You can drizzle some olive oil in, stop pouring until it's well incorporated, then drizzle some more. You will notice it getting thicker and increase in volume. When it begins to look thick like a mayonaise, you can begin to taste it to see if you need to ajust it to your taste by adding salt or something else. You can also add fresh herbs if you like, but wait until the last minute for that.