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Recipe: Homemade aioli with lemon and tarragon whips up quickly in a blender

Lemon-tarragon aioliSally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

Makes 1¼ cups

Aioli, a versatile cold sauce of olive oil and garlic, made like mayonnaise, is native to the Mediterranean and on menus everywhere. This one, which whips up quickly in a blender, is bright with lemon and has a spicy, licorice-like note from fresh tarragon. First pulse the emulsifying agents — an egg yolk, Dijon mustard, lemon juice — then, with the machine running, slowly drizzle in vegetable oil (like canola), then olive oil (take care because extra-virgin olive oil will become bitter if over-processed). Stir in the chopped herb by hand at the end. Use aioli as a dip for crispy potatoes or roasted vegetables, or dollop the creamy sauce beside grilled fish or steamed artichokes.

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1egg yolk
1teaspoon Dijon mustard
1tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste
1clove garlic, finely chopped
¼teaspoon salt
¼teaspoon black pepper
½cup canola oil
½cup olive oil
1tablespoon warm water
5sprigs tarragon, leaves chopped

1. In a blender, combine the yolk, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse for 10 seconds.

2. With the blender running, remove the insert in the lid. Slowly drizzle in a few tablespoons of canola oil; blend for 10 seconds. Stop the blender, remove the lid, and scrape down the sides of the jar with a rubber spatula.

3. Replace the lid, start the machine again, and slowly drizzle in the remaining canola oil, followed by the olive oil. Blend just until a smooth mayonnaise forms.

4. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the tarragon. If the mixture seems thick, stir in 1 tablespoon water a few drops at a time. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, a teaspoon at a time, and more salt and pepper, if you like. Scrape down the sides of the bowl; cover and refrigerate. Michelle-Marie Gilkeson


Michelle-Marie Gilkeson can be reached at michelle.marie.gilkeson@gmail.com.