(First off, sorry for such a long post with no pictures. My camera cable is MIA.)
What is aioli, you may ask? Before last semester I had no idea either. Then it came to me. The most glorious sandwich the campus can offer.
It was like a treasure trove amidst a tiny cafe with soggy caeser wraps and hockey-puck hamburgers. It was like it called out to me. It reached out its sandwich hand and said, "Come along, on this beautiful journey. You need not eat anything else for the rest of the semester." And I followed its guidance. I ate this sandwich every chance I could. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I would trot off to Herder Cafe and salivate as I pictured the glory. Sometimes they did not have my sandwich. But I think they learned. I ate it twice a week for three months and never once was tired of it.
What is this magic, you ask? Well, for those of you who go to UMass, I'm not giving away my precious secret. Just kidding, I'll tell you, but there better be some of them waiting for me next semester. This sandwich is from French Meadow Cafe, which is located in the Campus Center, but Herder Cafe also carried them. You can sometimes find this sandwich in the refrigerated section of Blue Wall.
It's name: BLT Croissant with Turkey and Garlic Aioli.
Bacon and flaky croissants and the most beautiful taste in the world, all rolled into one.
I'm sorry if you do not attend UMass and you are hating me because you want this sandwich now. I'm also sorry if you are thinking to yourself, why am I reading all of this nonsense. Give me a recipe already. All you need to do is scroll down until you see it. I'm not forcing anyone to listen to my babbling.
But seriously. This sandwich changed my life. And it's the one thing I miss from UMass right now during this winter break. So I decided today I was going to try and make aioli.
Honestly it did not come out nearly as good as I hoped. I followed the recipe from Epicurious exactly. I looked at other recipes and they are all mostly the same. I kind of hated my first finger dip into my creation. But after a couple adjustments and putting it onto a sandwich, it was relatively good. Not as good as French Meadow, but I think they cheat. I have a feeling they just mix garlic and mayonnaise, because theirs was white and mine was yellow. But hey, it was still good. It tastes a lot different on a sandwich than trying it by itself.
2 cloves of garlic (I used 4 small ones, and then added another normal sized one, which I think took it too far)
1 egg yolk
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil (it called for EVOO, but it was way too tangy for my liking)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp mayonnaise (optional)
Makes about 1/2 cup of aioli
Mince and mash the garlic into a paste. If you are not using a garlic mincer, use a large knife and if you've never done this before, check out this Youtube tutorial. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, lemon and mustard. Then add the oil, constantly whisking and only a few drops at a time so that it becomes emulsified. (Remember that science experiment from elementary school where you put oil and water in a glass and they separate? You don't want that to happen here.) Then whisk in the garlic and add salt and pepper to taste. I thought it needed something else, so I added the mayo and it took a little of the bite off. Use as a spread on a sandwich of your choice.
Do you know how to get an egg yolk separated from the whites? I learned from some romantic comedy that was my favorite on ABCFamily when I was younger. I have always been excited to use my knowledge. It's cold, but kind of fun. You hold the egg in your hand and let the whites slip through your fingers as you transfer from hand to hand until it's only a yolk. Thank you anonymous movie. (Anyone else remember it? It was about a hockey player and he marries this girl at the end and A Thousand Miles plays...)