Awesome aioli and an eggy grilled cheese

This recipe is courtesy of Bon Appétit. I cannot thank my Mom enough for that subscription! I am an all-around lover of garlic, despite it’s severe post-consumption consequences. I can’t get enough of it. I put it in basically everything (we buy about 3 bunches of cloves every couple of weeks). I first discovered aioli in the South of France, served with fish, and fell in love immediately. What the compound butter is to a great steak, aioli becomes for fish. I’m not a fan of white fish in general. I find it lacking in flavor. But add garlicky, spicy mayonnaise to it, and it transcends to another level.

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I decided to make my own aioli for a very simple reason: I had half a cabbage sitting in my fridge and needed to use it, and fast. I decided on a slaw, but realized I didn’t have any mayonnaise. Now, I know that slaw can be made a million ways, many of which don’t include mayonnaise, but I prefer the tanginess that it adds to the mix. I whipped up my aioli in about three minutes flat, and it was the perfect addition to my slaw. Not to mention that what was left went exquisitely with the chicken I made that evening, and even better with an eggy grilled cheese sandwich the following day.

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I’d made aioli before, and the recipe involved slowly heating the egg yolks over a water bath and whisking in the olive oil. It ended up breaking, and I was very disappointed. This recipe is totally different. Just a lot of energetic mixing in a bowl, on my countertop. It couldn’t have been easier, and the result was exactly what I wanted it to be.

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Awesome aioli
Recipe from Bon Appétit (April 2012)

Ingredients (makes 1/2 C):
1 large egg yolk
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 t salt
1/3-1/2 C olive oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the egg yolk, garlic and salt in a medium-sized bowl, with 2 tablespoons of water until well blended and creamy. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking, little by little, until it’s all incorporated. That’s it! Just season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice (about a teaspoon), without forgetting the cayenne pepper. I like to substitute espelette pepper, which is a tad milder. You could also try this with ginger or cumin for a fun alternative.

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If you’d like to recreate my eggy grilled cheese sandwich, just heat a tablespoon of butter in a skillet, add your bread, fried egg, bacon and goat cheese on top. Spread a nice layer of aioli on the top piece of bread and place it, mayonnaise side down, on top of the rest. Cook over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side, until the outsides are brown and crisp. Garnish with tomato slices, arugula or whatever you have on hand!

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2 thoughts on “Awesome aioli and an eggy grilled cheese

  1. I was never a fan of mayonnaise until I encountered garlic aioli. They serve it with fries at a gastropub near my apartment. Yours looks fabulous!

    • Ooh, thanks! Yeah, I grew up on Miracle Whip. Needless to say, discovering real mayonnaise was a revelation (even better: tangy, mustardy French mayonnaise), and aioli has me hooked. Plus, it’s so easy to make!

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