Years ago I was in Cordoba. Southern Spain. In summer. Working outdoors, for a project that studied reproductive behaviours in social birds: there was a lot of walking with 3m ladders on your shoulders, a fair amount of climbing trees, some crying (I discovered during those three months that no, I could never get used to climbing things and not having my feet on the ground), a infinite amount of photos and a lot of learning. One thing I got from this research experience was recipes. Many, many recipes. After a particularly difficult day in the field, the researcher from Burgos offered to cook and whipped up some kind of fish or seafood paella. I don’t really remember what it was, because the sauce that came with it was the best sauce I had tasted in my whole life. I’m not even joking. Thick, creamy goodness with perfect seasoning, some herb and..garlic? What was this amazingness? He laughed quite a lot before he told me it was simply allioli. What is allioli, I hear you asking! Well, dear readers (:D), allioli is a historical sauce known to even the ancient Egyptians. A sauce made with garlic (ali) and olive oil (oli) it is also called aioli, by the French. But believe me, nowhere is it more loved than in Spain, where they use it with many fish and seafood dishes, including their beloved paella. Basically it’s mayonnaise with garlic. There, I said it. And although I love allioli, after learning how to make it in Cordoba I gradually tweaked it until I can say I’m completely satisfied. And that’s why this post is called Miracle Mayo. Miracle Mayo differs from normal mayonnaise because it tastes like garlic, but unlike allioli (and thus the original Cordoba recipe) it is light and easily digestible AND you don’t run the risk of scaring your partner away when you snuggle up together a few hours later. How did I achieve this magical feat? By infusing half a glass of vegetable oil with ground garlic. Yep. This way the sauce tastes like garlic but there is no actual garlic in it, just the aroma. Magical, huh? This is what I do. A few (the more the better!) hours beforehand, pour our half a glass of vegetable oil (I use sunflower) and add one or two mushed up garlic cloves. If you prefer style and glamour, slice the cloves instead. Don’t worry about how much oil you’re using now – you can always use the leftover oil for something else later. You’re going to need a blender, a container for the mayo (if the blender has its own, great) and a finger to taste the mayo with.
Using only vegetable oil keeps the mayo light and healthy (always depending on your standards), but to give it a good, wholesome taste you absolutely need to add some olive oil.
And it’s homemade, too. So if anyone criticises, ask them when was the last time they made a perfect magic mayo!
We had it as a sauce for Gordon’s Stuffed Chicken and it went really well. You can literally add anything you like as a garnish or blended into the sauce – whatever herb tickles your fancy. I would suggest thyme or parsley, but it really depends on you and what you feel like. I felt like basil, because I love basil and we just bought our new summer plant, so… I hope you enjoy your Magic Mayo and that you let me know if you have any feedback, comments or useful tweaks!