Salsa alioli (garlic mayonnaise)

  • Preparation Time15 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyEasy
530 ml Spanish olive oil (not virgin)
3 large cloves garlic, germs removed
2 pinches sea salt
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tbsps fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1-2 tbsps hot water
This wickedly delicious garlic mayonnaise originated in Catalonia and quickly spread throughout Spain. In its purest form, this sauce would never be made with egg yolk - only olive oil, garlic and salt - however it is easier to achieve the emulsion at home by using the yolk, and I like the creamy texture it gives. Alioli is a quintessential sauce and is such a wonderful accompaniment to almost anything including roast beef and other cold meats or vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus or poached leeks. It's also an amazing as a sauce for olive oil-fried seafood, like tender calamari, and is delicious drizzled over young lamb chops, roasted chicken, grilled fish and seafood, such as lobster grilled on the half shell. For a decadent occasion, add an additional clove of garlic to the recipe and a little extra lemon juice, and toss hot olive oil-fried potatoes (in chunks) with the alioli. Sprinkle a pinch of cayenne or paprika on top or spoon a dollop of sundried tomato purée on top and serve.

1) Pound and crush the garlic with a pinch of salt to a paste in a mortar or chop finely using the flat part of your knife to crush the garlic and salt into a smooth paste. This may take a few minutes but it is essential that the garlic is perfectly smooth and that no chucks remain before starting to make the alioli.

2) Transfer to a bowl, add the egg yolks, and whisk to blend. Still whisking, slowly pour in 1/4 of the olive oil, a few drops at a time, until the sauce starts to acquire some body, and then pour in the rest of the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, until it becomes a creamy thick sauce.

3) To finish, add in an extra squeeze of lemon juice, to taste, and 1-2 tablespoons of hot water. Stir well and serve. If not serving right away, store in the refrigerator and consume within 2 days.


Ensure all of your ingredients are at room temperature to make this recipe. If you want to tame the flavor of raw garlic, blanch the garlic for a couple of minutes in boiling water or you can substitute sweet smoky roasted garlic, instead of raw.

Additional flavoring: You can also add almost anything to flavor this alioli, like fresh herbs, other citrus juice, olive tapenade, sundried tomato purée, grainy mustard, miso paste (omit the salt in the recipe, if using miso) and even brandy.

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