This aioli will amaze you and when you serve it, your guests are going to wipe the bowl clean so not a drop goes to waste. Seriously, I shared the recipe for Homemade Aioli with Kalamata Olives with my son Chris Kramer, who is the current General Manager and a published mixologist at The Larchmont restaurant in Los Angeles. He was intriqued and had the chef give it a try. The kitchen staff loved it so much they served Kalamata Aioli for the first time the other day. At The Larchmont! Patrons raved about it and it will be a regular menu condiment served with their Steak Frites and “legendary” Burger. At The Larchmont (I know I said that)! A upscale, fine-dining historical restaurant! In Los Angeles! Yes, I might be shouting! But it’s reeeeeally good!
If you haven’t just skipped right to the recipe, here’s more for you. The nucleus for Kalamata Aioli was created at a lunch date in a Nordstrom Café with one of my good friends. I’d never tried Kalamata Aioli but Kim raved about it so we placed our orders around their fries and this sauce. Well, she wasn’t kidding, we ran out of the fries and literally finished the last bit of Kalamata Aioli by wiping it up with our fingers. It was my birthday so she actually gave me the last swipe from her bowl. Not a great visual, I know but it’s that good! What’s that you say? Aioli sounds fancy and difficult to make? An what’s the difference between aioli and plain ol’ mayo? Well, I’m going to tell you but don’t you dare think of just adding kalamata olives to a store bought “something” and calling it good! Let me help you out.
First of all, homemade aioli and even homemade mayonnaise is amazing and so much better tasting than store-bought, not to mention better for you (egg yolks are super good for you!). It comes together in a flash. Both aioli and mayonnaise begin with a fresh egg yolk, lemon juice, and a little Dijon mustard, but where mayonnaise uses vegetable oil in the mix, aioli typically uses healthy extra-virgin olive oil for a more fruity flavor. Garlic is also typical in aioli (mustard is optional in both but I recommend it). The best part?-The only tool you need is a hand whisk. No blender or food processor required! Here’s what I do:
First, prepare your garlic paste: smash and mince two garlic cloves with a heavy knife. Add a little sea salt and continue to mash and chop until you can slice the flat edge of the knife over the garlic and an almost smooth paste is created. Here’s a good video tutorial for making garlic paste.
Then assemble your egg yolk, Dijon, lemon juice, oil, salt, and olives (in this recipe I used EVOO with a smidgen of expeller-pressed canola oil poured in to mellow it a little). Whisk your egg, add the lemon juice and mustard, then slowly start to incorporate the oil. Whisk until the oil and yolk are no longer separate.
Add the garlic paste and whisk again. At the very end, whisk in kalamata olives that have been finely chopped. You might need your food processor just to mince the olives finely enough. Note: My aioli turns out pretty yellow because I use free-range eggs from my backyard chickens.
We experimented with making it and eating it fresh and I made a batch a day ahead of serving. It was just as delicious the next day so make it whenever you want. The aioli can be stored in the fridge for as long as the best-by date on your egg carton.
That’s it! Amazing served with homemade fries, but you can use it on anything you typically use mayo or regular aioli. It was fabulous also served with pretzel chips and would be a great burger or roast chicken topping. Serve it with steamed artichokes. Try this for your next football party or for the holiday gatherings (or if you live in L.A., I guess you could just go to The Larchmont). But at least double the recipe. Oh, and my husband basically ate an entire batch the other night with slices of pizza and used his last piece of crust to wipe the bowl clean. (Big smiley face here)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, optional
- 12 pitted kalamata olives, minced
- Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife.
- Whisk together yolk, lemon juice, and mustard in a bowl.
- Combine oils and add slowly to yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until all oil is incorporated and mixture is emulsified. (If mixture separates, stop adding oil and continue whisking until mixture comes together, then resume adding oil.)
- Whisk in garlic paste and kalamata olives. Season with more salt, if needed (remember the kalamata olives are pretty salty-tasting. Add fresh ground black pepper, if desired).
- Chill, covered, until ready to use. May be stored in the refrigerator as long as the use-by date on the carton from the egg yolk you used.
- Serve with homemade fries, pretzels or pretzel chips, burgers, chicken, or steamed artichokes.
Recipe adapted, tested and retested from menu item at Nordstrom Café.