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isn't aioli just mayonaise? [Moved from the Manhattan Board]

I love the re-branding of clunky old classics as much as the next guy (when did bass become branzini?), but isn't aioli just mayo with something like wasabe or garlic thrown in?

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  1. Not necessarily. Traditional spanish aioli is just garlic and oil, no egg yolk at all. Sometimes people cheat and add a bit of dry bread or cooked potato to act as a thickener (this is a foolproof trick when your aioli is not binding). But real aioli is, I think, much more difficult to make than mayo (and a lot tastier).

    4 Replies
    1. re: mielimato

      The Spanish call their version of "aioli", alioli. You are right that traditionally, the Spanish version is not made with any eggs at all, only olive oil and lots garlic with salt and maybe a little lemon juice. Because of the invention of the blender/food processor, now eggs are often used.

      1. re: PBSF

        [MODE=pedantic]

        It's actually of Catalan derivation, and it's properly called "all i oli" or "allioli"; it is olive oil and garlic with salt, beaten into a paste (no lemon juice). The extra "l" changes the pronunciation -- "allioli" sounds very close to the French "aïoli".

        One of the five bases of Catalan cuisine, along with romesco, xamfaina, sofregit and picada.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Thanks for pointing out the Catalan derivation. Both spellings of the word, alioli and allioli are correct.

        2. re: PBSF

          Is alioli different from toum?

          Oops, just noticed this thread is from a year ago and was bumped up.

      2. I know you're primarily asking about aioli, but with regard to the bass/branzini comment . . "bass" is such a generic term that it really has no meaning - for example, striped bass, black sea bass, and Chilean sea bass are three unrelated species with very different culinary uses. Branzini refers specifically to the European sea bass (also sometimes called Mediterranean sea bass) whose scientific name is Dicentrarchus labrax. Now, whether restauranteurs are following the rules when they list a menu item as "branzini" is another question.

        1. To me, aioli has always been a homemade mayonnaise with any number of flavorings, most notably garlic but any herb or mustard will also do.

          1. Aioli is not a rebranding of anything and it doesn't contain wasabi.

            Traditional French aioli is garlic, salt, olive oil and egg yolks. Prepared in mortar and pestle. Some recipes add lemon juice. It is not a flavoured mayonnaise. The garlic isn't thrown in. It is at the base of the recipe.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SnackHappy

              If you call it "wasabi aïoli" it does :)

              TT

            2. Also, aioli usually has a runnier consistency than mayonnaise, more like a proper sauce or soup-it just coats the back of a spoon.

              2 Replies
              1. re: bogie

                A properly made aioli is very thick, thicker than store bought mayonnaise.

                1. re: PBSF

                  I agree - I always thought of aioli is very thick.