Calamansi Aioli

Fancy mayo!  Although traditional aioli was simply garlic and extra virgin olive oil emulsified in a mortar and pestle, the term has now come to include garlic flavored mayonnaise.  Please please please don’t ever say “garlic aioli.”  It’s redundant.  By definition, aioli already has garlic in it.  How would you feel if someone kept saying “soy sauce and vinegar adobo?”  GTF outta here.

Anyways, have you ever tried making mayonnaise the traditional way?  It’s painfully frustrating.  First, you have to understand that mayonnaise  is an emulsion, which is a mixture of liquids that usually cannot be mixed together, i.e. oil and water, or in the case of mayo – oil and acid (lemon juice/vinegar).  Just try mixing only oil and lemon juice and it’ll always separate  no matter how hard you try.  With the help of emulsifiers like egg yolk and mustard, however, they help the oil droplets and lemon juice stick together.

To make mayonnaise the traditional way you start with an egg yolk, lemon, and mustard wisked in a bowl.  Then you add in oil, first A DROP AT A TIME.  The egg yolk (w/ the help of the mustard) grabs hold of the oil and and lemon, but you have to add in the oil very slowly in the beginning.  After you start forming an emulsion you can start increasing the rate of the addition of oil to a thin steady stream.  The more oil that’s already emulsified, additional oil can be added more easily.  Add  too much too fast at any point though and you’ll end up with a broken emulsion where the oil starts separating from everything else again.

Yeah, its difficulty level is 3,000.  Even though I’ve had a few successful attempts, I still have a hard time.  Thank God for J. Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats.  His Two-Minute Foolproof Mayonnaise is life changing.  All you need is an immersion blender (aka a hand blender).  Simply throw in the mayonnaise ingredients in a cup, the oil being last, and blend!  I use the one by Cuisinart, but any should do.  My blender has two speeds, but I can only find success with the higher speed (I’m assuming the lower speed doesn’t incorporate the oil fast enough).  Naturally the oil stays on top.  The blender creates a vortex that sucks and mixes the oil in just enough amount to create a stable emulsion.

Although extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) can give the mayonnaise a nice finishing taste, an important thing to keep in mind is you don’t want to use it in the blender.  There are certain compounds that become bitter when agitated by the violent blades of the blender (Sidenote: these same properties are also why you don’t want to cook with EVOO either).  If using EVOO at all, first start the mayonnaise by blending with canola oil, grapeseed oil, or even pure olive oil, which can all do well in the blender and are neutral tasting.  Then scoop everything out into a bowl and whisk in the extra virgin olive oil by hand.  You won’t have to worry much about the mayonnaise breaking since you’re already starting with a stable emulsion.

Now I can’t even count how many times I’ve made mayonnaise/aioli at home!  This also gives us plenty opportunities to experiment and Filipinoize this mess.  This first thing I can think of seems pretty obvious to me.  Swap out the lemon for the Philippine native acid – calamansi!  Of course, we’ll be adding garlic to make this an aioli because garlic is delicious.  We’ll also use some soy sauce to add salt and umami taste in the mix.

Calamansi Aioli

Equipment:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 Garlic Clove (Puréed)
  • 1 Teaspoon Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Calamansi Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 3/4 Cup Canola Oil or Grapeseed Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Alternatively, you can replace the extra virgin olive oil for more canola/grapeseed oil and skip step 7 below to make things easier)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Place the egg yolk, puréed garlic, mustard, calamansi juice, and soy sauce in the cup/jar
  2. Pour in the canola/grapeseed oil
  3. Insert the immersion blender to the bottom and blend.  If your blender has two speeds like mine, try the higher speed.
  4. After the emulsion starts forming, move the blender around to emulsify the remaining canola/grapeseed oil
  5. Plus and scoop out the mayonnaise into a mixing bowl
  6. Set the mixing bowl on a wet paper towel to stabilize it
  7. Simultaneously wisk the mayonnaise and drizzle the extra virgin olive oil in the bowl until completely incorporated
  8. Taste, then salt and pepper to taste
  9. Add more calamansi and/or soy sauce to your taste
  10. Show off your fancy aioli

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