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Is there a way to rescue an aioli that's too thin?

marthadumptruck Feb 14, 2008 10:52 AM

My aioli's very, very runny. I put in cold yolks and processed with room temperature oil, which I think caused my problem.

Is there any way to save my aioli, or am I better off starting over?


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  1. MMRuth RE: marthadumptruck Feb 14, 2008 10:54 AM

    Yes - I try to start with warm yolks. You could try taking another yolk (warm), adding a little olive oil v. slowly, then mixing in the first mixture.

    1. s
      Stuffed Monkey RE: marthadumptruck Feb 14, 2008 10:57 AM

      Start with a new egg (or yolk) and dribble in the runny aioli in, in place of the oil.

      1. c
        cocktailhour RE: marthadumptruck Feb 14, 2008 11:08 AM

        I once had a thin aioli which thickened are much more beating than usual, and other times simply adding more oil has helped. I always use cold yolks--too impatient.

        1. maria lorraine RE: marthadumptruck Feb 14, 2008 08:11 PM

          Agree with the other posters here. Take your runny aioli out of the processor, add a brand new egg yolk or two, and process it for 1-2 minutes (yes, that's right, and it's key). I find this releases the coagulating power of the yolk more. (I make aioli three times a week.)

          Then, drizzle in the runny aioli mixture very slowly. Soon it will take and seize up, and the liquid in the food processor will sound differently -- like it's slapping against the side of the processor bowl. That's when you know the eggs have emulsifed the oil. You may need to add a bit more oil now, and spices, as though you are making a double batch. Always wait to add acids (vinegar, lemon juice) until the thickening is really established, at the end.

          Now, a quick fix, is to steam a small potato till its extra soft, cut it in chunks and process it along with the runny aioli. Works every time, and no double batch needed. You can't taste the potato, by the way.

          8 Replies
          1. re: maria lorraine
            onefineleo RE: maria lorraine Feb 15, 2008 05:41 AM

            Maria Lorraine,

            It's interesting that you make aioli so often. I love it too. May I ask how you are using it?

            1. re: onefineleo
              maria lorraine RE: onefineleo Feb 15, 2008 01:53 PM

              I make an aioli to serve with a platter of roasted chicken, steamed vegetables and potatoes, in that country French food way. Very simple and satisfying. Or to accompany an all-vegetable plate, in much the same way as an Italian bagna cauda. Or to serve with mussels (moules), like the French and Belge do. I like to add a little saffron to the aioli to make it even better with mussels, though. A good dollop of lemon aioli is wonderful on meaty-textured grilled fish. And, a Caesar salad dressing made in the processor is essentially an aioli. Or, l will make an aioli instead of hollandaise or bearnaise for asparagus in keeping with the steamed/roasted vegetable affinity. (It takes much less time, and the olive oil is healthier than the butter of hollandaise.) Or, I use it on sandwiches instead of mayo and mustard, especially if I add dry mustard to the mixture. Then it's kind of an elegant Durkee's, without Durkee's sweetness. Lots of uses. It's almost my only use of added fat; I rarely use butter these days -- love it when I do (I use Plugra), but I seem to rarely reach for it. Simple additions like saffron or red bell pepper puree (like a rouille for the top of bouillabaisse or other soups), or pimenton or an herb that pairs with your dish -- make it one of my favorite sauces now. I do love the stuff. Thanks for asking. Best to you, Maria

              1. re: maria lorraine
                onefineleo RE: maria lorraine Feb 15, 2008 02:02 PM

                Thanks for the great ideas. I've been toying with the idea of preparing a big platter of various cooked vegetables and aioli to serve as a first course for an upcoming dinner party. (Got a suggestion for a wine pairing?)

                1. re: onefineleo
                  maria lorraine RE: onefineleo Feb 15, 2008 02:19 PM

                  I like a Meyer Lemon aioli or a blood orange aioli this time of year for a steamed vegetable platter. Perhaps even with a small amount of zest -- of course this idea is in keeping with the zing that a squeeze of lemon or citrus will give to veggies just before serving. I like to season the vegetables with good quaity sea salt and a light dusting of freshly cracked pepper -- that's it. I let the aioli do the rest. When I happen to be dining alone at home, one of my favorite dinners is just this: steamed vegetables and aioli.

                  Wine pairing ideas (you knew to ask this!): I like Vouvray because of its lovely herbal and citrus tones (and you can find great inexpensive ones). Same reason for Savennieres, also from the Loire. Pinot Gris, those from Washington and Oregon right now are wonderful. Luna makes what they call a Pinot Grigio but it's actually a Pinot Gris (different style of winemaking and growing for the same grape) that's really lovely. I like only a few Sauvignon Blancs, like Miner from Napa, but I don't care for the overblown every-one-tastes-the-same New Zealand style of SB. I really like the Chappellet Chenin Blanc, and the one from Elizabeth Pressler (a good buy). I also like Arneis, from Piedmont, for this dish. I've just gone through the world in my mind (truly) and these are the best, IMO.

                  1. re: maria lorraine
                    MMRuth RE: maria lorraine Feb 15, 2008 02:32 PM

                    I love the idea of a Meyer Lemon aioli - can't believe I never thought of it - and the blood orange sounds wonderful too. Casa Mono has bacalao croquetas with a delicious orange one. Thanks so much for the ideas!

                    1. re: maria lorraine
                      onefineleo RE: maria lorraine Feb 15, 2008 05:36 PM

                      Yes, m'dear Maria Lorraine, I knew to ask. Your knowledge never ceases to delight and teach me. I extend my deep appreciation.

                      1. re: maria lorraine
                        maria lorraine RE: maria lorraine Feb 17, 2008 04:33 PM

                        One of the Chenin Blancs I mentioned is actually Elizabeth Spencer,
                        a partnership between Elizabeth Pressler [which is what I wrote, incorrectly] and Spencer Graham. Based in Rutherford, in Napa Valley.

                2. re: maria lorraine
                  Miss Needle RE: maria lorraine Feb 15, 2008 06:31 AM

                  Thank you! This has happened to me often, and I always just ended up throwing the mixture out. I'll try this.

                3. marthadumptruck RE: marthadumptruck Feb 15, 2008 02:06 PM

                  Thanks for your input, everyone.

                  I have made aioli successfully in the past. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I had no luck yesterday. Now, I have some good back up plans should this ever happen again.

                  1. j
                    jonpo RE: marthadumptruck Apr 29, 2014 12:34 PM

                    I..erm..unintentionally stumbled upon a solution for this - a bit of patience, let the mixture separate and then simply decant the oil off the top and start again, whisking the substance remaining after you've removed as much as reasonably possible of the oil.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jonpo
                      maria lorraine RE: jonpo Apr 29, 2014 04:16 PM

                      You can use the entire mixture, not just the oil. Begin afresh with a new yolk and establish the emulsion with new oil, then drizzle in the entire first mixture. Classic technique for a broken mayo.

                      More tips: Don't use the metal blade on a food processor (the blade agitates the mixture too much so that the emulsion cannot "take") -- better is the wire whip on a mixer, or a whisk and do it by hand. Wait to add any acids till after the mixture has thickened and the emulsion stabilized. Bear in mind, by beginning with a new egg and oil, you will be making a slightly larger quantity.

                      1. re: maria lorraine
                        maria lorraine RE: maria lorraine Apr 29, 2014 04:16 PM

                        If all else fails, steam a small potato in the microwave and use it to thicken the too-thin or broken aioli. Just add it to the mixture in the food processor.

                        In fact, this is the fastest way to recover the aioli, IMO. The potato is neutral in flavor so you really can't taste it.

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