Mayonnaise is not JUST mayonnaise, just like every flavored mayonnaise isn’t aioli. First, let’s tackle the mayonnaise. Yes, I have an opinion. You’ll not be surprised about this, but what’s being almost 50 years old if you can’t have opinions? Hell, what’s being SOUTHERN without having an opinion about mayonnaise?
In the south, there are only two brands of mayonnaise worth their weight in salt; they are Duke’s and Hellmann’s. Period. I’d read about this stand-off for years, but Duke’s wasn’t available anywhere near me, so I had never tried it. Then! I was talking to one of my friends, who I ALWAYS talk with about food (when we’re really supposed to be conducting business) and he told me he found Duke’s in Knoxville.
In our family we were die-hard Hellmann’s users…I really didn’t think I’d be won over by this OTHER mayonnaise. Boy, was I wrong! One little spoonful told me the story…Hellmann’s had lost. Duke’s had won. The next time my sister came by, this was the conversation:
- Me: Sit down. I have something to tell you.
- Her: Okay. What?!?
- Me: Honey, I’ve switched mayonnaise.
- Her: WHAT! What ARE you talking about!?! No!
- Me: Yes, it’s true! Taste this! *Shoves spoon in her mouth*
- Her: *eyes widen* Oh. My. God.
Yes. It’s that good.
Okay…on to aioli. It’s garlic mayonnaise. It’s NOT aioli if it’s flavored mayonnaise, but doesn’t contain garlic. I know, I know, it’s a small distinction, but one that drives me batty in restaurants where any flavored mayonnaise is suddenly “aioli”.
There are many different ways to flavor an aioli, but one I LOVE for fried green tomatoes AND for crab cakes is roasted red pepper aioli. There is a local restaurant near here that serves it with their fried green tomatoes. I first had it there years ago when the amuse bouche arrived at our table. A perfect little bite of fried green tomato with a dab of roasted red pepper aioli on it. I about died. Right there. Of pleasure. In the middle of the restaurant, in front of God and all the customers.
So, it became a quest to try to replicate this Roasted Red Pepper Aioli. What follows is my best shot at it:
- 3 Large Egg Yolks
- 1½ tablespoons Dijon Mustard
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic
- 4 drops Tabasco
- 1 Large Red Pepper, Roasted
- ⅓ cup grape-seed oil
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Combine the first six ingredients in a food processor.
- Blend for about half a minute, then begin drizzling in the oils (which you've mixed together in a cup) in a slow, steady stream until fully incorporated.
- Season with the salt and pepper.
Simple as that. And how delicious?!? Very!
I don’t want to hear about a single one of you pulling out a jar of store-bought mayonnaise and flavoring it up. It doesn’t get easier than this, y’all.
Done. Chill and serve cold. It sure is delicious on a fried green tomato!