April has begun and I’m attacking the A to Z challenge once again.  This year, I have a theme which will be both educating and delicious.  It has been a secret for a few months now.

The secret theme is… wait for it…. Cooking!  Yes, cooking.  Each will feature a different dish, sauce, or cooking term along with an associated recipe to try on your own.

On with the show!

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Aioli

a-to-z-letters-aAioli is a Provencal sauce made from garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and egg yolks.  You can add in anything to make your own variation such as mustard, pears, vegetables, or whatever comes to mind.  Or, you can do like me and take cues from Food Network where they have all kinds of variations that sound tummy rumbling good.

According to Wikipedia an Aioli is something like mayonnaise, an emulsion or a suspension of small globules of oil and oil-soluble compounds in water and water-soluble compounds.  Now, garlic and mustard have the same emulsifying properties as egg yolks do.  So, if you can’t have eggs, there is a variant out there to try.

However you make it, be sure to add the oil and lemon juice slowly or the emulsion will fall apart into a messy goop.  It can be saved, but it’ll take more egg yolks and a lot of whisking before it is a nice smooth texture.  For hints and recipes, head on over to foodnetwork.com and search for aioli.  You will find a lot in there from all kinds of chefs and shows.

A quick shout out to the founder of the A to Z challenge, Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/, thank you for making this crazy, if fun, challenge.  I enjoy it and so do many others.  I hope we all have given you a giggle or two over the years.  Enjoy my theme!  It’s delicious!

The recipe:

Ingredients

2 or 3 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and chopped. (If they’ve started to sprout, don’t use them for aioli.)
Large pinch coarse sea or kosher salt
1 egg yolk*, at room temperature
1/2 lemon, juiced
2/3 cup pure olive oil (not extra virgin)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place garlic and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, or in a blender. Pulse for 2 seconds. Add the egg yolk and lemon juice, and pulse on and off until blended. Turn on and begin adding the olive oil (pure first, then extra-virgin) in a thin stream. If it becomes too thick, thin it out with some room-temperature water and continue adding oil until you’ve used it all. Finish with pepper and (if necessary) a bit more salt.

The reason for using 2/3 pure olive oil is to keep the flavor of the oil from becoming overpowering. This is a perfect example of how by using a fully flavored extra virgin oil you can use much less, thereby saving money and getting better flavor.

*RAW EGG WARNING

Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ciao-america-with-mario-batali/aioli-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Check out others in the Challenge: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/2012-to-z-challenge-sign-up-list.html

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