Aioli, a creamy and aromatic condiment similar to mayonnaise, is traditionally used in the cooking of Provence, France, and Catalonia in Spain. Although this garlic-enhanced sauce is generally served with vegetables, bread, fish and meat, it also makes an excellent sandwich spread or salad dressing. Authentic garlic aioli contains about 1.7 grams of saturated fat, 21.5 milligrams of cholesterol and 107 calories per tablespoon. It also uses raw egg yolk as an emulsifier. Many people, however, are concerned about the bacterial safety of eating raw eggs. The good news: You can eliminate concerns, lower cholesterol consumption and still enjoy aioli by substituting mayonnaise for raw egg yolk.
Put a couple of garlic cloves and a small amount of kosher salt in a mortar. Use a pestle to crush the garlic and salt into a smooth paste. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, put the cloves through a garlic press and then blend the garlic with a little kosher salt.
Place the garlic paste in a medium bowl and add mayonnaise. Gently whisk the garlic paste and mayonnaise together until they're thoroughly mixed. Although you might experience a slight variation in flavor, you can cut your aioli's calorie, fat and cholesterol content by using reduced-fat instead of full-fat mayonnaise. While a 1-tablespoon serving of full-fat mayonnaise contains approximately 1.6 grams of saturated fat, 6 milligrams of cholesterol and 94 calories, a tablespoon of reduced-calorie, cholesterol-free mayonnaise contains approximately 49 calories, 0.67 grams of fat and zero cholesterol.
Add a small amount of fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil into the mayonnaise and garlic mixture, slowly -- whisking continuously -- until the mixture is smooth and dense. The lemon juice and olive oil not only impart a richer taste, especially if you are using reduced-fat mayonnaise, but they also help thin the consistency of the mayonnaise.
Put the aioli in an airtight container and refrigerate until serving time. If kept in the refrigerator, your aioli lasts for several days in an airtight container.
Add fresh herbs such as chopped basil, fennel or dill, or include chopped nuts to your basic aioli to create a variety of flavorful condiments.
Commercially prepared mayonnaise not only contains pasteurized eggs -- those that have been heat-treated to destroy harmful bacteria -- but also uses ingredients like vinegar and salt, which help prevent the growth of bacteria.