Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise a.k.a aioli

Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise a.k.a aioli

After a lengthy separation, I'm developing a taste for mayonnaise again (in tiny amounts). For years, the sight or even thought of mayo slathered thickly on any sandwich I was about to eat initiated my gag reflex. Maybe this was due in part to my being raised on that "zippy mayo" as a young'un. Eek! 

I cringe at that fact now. High fructose corn syrup + extra sugar, anyone? It DID have a zip though, which as a kid I happened to enjoy. Nowadays I squirt spicy brown or yellow jalapeno mustard on just about anything deserving a condiment. 

Back to my re-liking mayonnaise. I blame it on one of my favorite high-end burger joints in KC. This particular restaurant has quality ingredients, fresh baked buns, homemade ketchup and mustard and most importantly...aioli

At least half of the burgers on their menu have an aioli spread with ingredients catered to a certain flavor theme. Unbenownst to me, I consumed these gourmet burgers several times without realizing they were smeared with a flavored mayonnaise!

Eventually curiosity overtook me, I searched google (the ultimate answer giver) and was slightly horrified for a total of five seconds, then kind of impressed. Me, a hardcore mayo detester, duped by some flavorings? Yes, indeed. 

That is the power of garlic, lemon & other seasonings, my friend. How could I say no to garlic? I love, love, love, love, love garlic. In all forms. The concept of garlic breath has no meaning for me. I've never once eaten something garlic-laden and worried afterward about my mouth smell. In fact, if someone were to chomp on a piece of garlic and speak close to my face, I'd probably thank them for the wonderful aroma. 
I've made my own basic aioli several times since then, mostly for burgers and once for a toasted BLT. The ingredients are simple: prepared (or homemade) mayonnaise, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper. I made sure to add extra garlic & lemon to cover up the mayonnaise taste and it turned out delicious. 

Of course, you can add a myriad of other flavorings or swap out the acidic component (lemon juice) for others. People get very creative with mayonnaise. (I still think plain mayo is pretty gross, though). 

All right, enough with my mayo ramblings. Here's the recipe for the aioli I made last night to put on my Hatch Chile Burgers.

How to Make Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise |

Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise (a.k.a aioli)
Minced garlic, fresh squeezed lime juice, finely chopped cilantro, spicy pepper sauce and salt & pepper marry together in a warm, creamy sea of mayonnaise. Maybe that's a smidgen overstated. The size is closer to a puddle, but that doesn't sound quite as romantic. 
Serves: 2-3

2 heaping tbsp of mayonnaise 
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp organic cilantro, leaves finely chopped
1 tbsp lime juice, approximately 1/2 a lime
2 shakes from the bottle of a hot pepper sauce
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Add mayonnaise to small mixing bowl or container. Peel and mince a garlic clove. Remove a small palmful of cilantro leaves from stem and chop finely. Should yield about 1 tbsp. Add more if you like cilantro, less if you don't. Cut lime in half and squeeze the juice from one half into the mayo. Add garlic and cilantro to mayo. Add a pinch of salt & a two grinds of pepper to mayo. Shake a bottle of hot pepper sauce twice into the mayo. Mix thoroughly and taste. Add more salt and pepper, as needed. 
Notes & Tips
Feel free to experiment and add more or less of any of the ingredients to suite your taste. If you like cilantro, add more and that will shine through as the main flavor. Add more garlic to give it more of a bite and lime juice for a tangy kick. Or flex your wrist muscles and add several more shakes of that tabasco for a fiery edge. The important thing is to flavor in a way that tastes good to you. Get creative!

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Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise Recipe

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What are your favorite ingredients to mix with mayonnaise?

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