It’s the tail end of truffle season here in Paris. Fancy restaurants have five-course truffle tasting menus, and occasionally you can find black truffles themselves in the markets—for an obscene amount of money, of course. Raw truffles are fantastic thinly shaved over risotto or a creamy pasta dish for a special occasion dinner. And truffles are also used to flavor meat or cheeses—the Italian shop down the street sells an aged ham cured with truffle slices that is unbelievably delicious. A more reasonably priced option for your truffle fix though is truffle oil, which gives you that same earthy, seductive flavor in a shelf-stable form. I love a bit of truffle oil drizzled over soft-scrambled eggs or tossed with steamed green beans, but using it to make your own Truffle Aioli is a bit of decadence we all deserve right now.
This recipe combines my technique for homemade mayo with truffle oil flavoring. Though I love my Hellman’s for most regular uses, every now and then I like to make my own mayonnaise from scratch. There’s nothing better than a BLT in the summer slathered with homemade mayonnaise. And incorporating truffle oil into your mayo adds a layer of flavor that is truly delicious, and no harder than making mayonnaise itself. Use it as a dip with chilled shellfish or steamed vegetables, or serve it as a topping for a bouillabaisse or other fish stew. (Or, just smear some on a baguette slice and stuff in your mouth, as I did as soon as I finished whisking.)
Making Mayonnaise: Machine vs. Whisk
If you are already a home mayonnaise-maker and are on Team Food Processor/Blender/Immersion blender, I salute you. Me, I seem to have about a 50% success rate with using a machine to make mayonnaise, unless I’m making a batch so large that I will never use it all before it goes bad. As a result of throwing out several machine-made attempts amid a stream of impolite words, I am now 100% Team Hand Whisk. Yes, it takes a while. Yes, your arm will get tired of whisking. But it is much much less easier to mess up as you can see exactly what you are doing. On to the details.
How do you make Truffle Aioli?
Whisk together 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small-medium bowl. I like to use a glass bowl so you can really see what is happening.
In a measuring cup with a spout, combine 1 tablespoon truffle oil and 3/4 cup neutral oil (vegetable, grapeseed, sunflower, or similar). Very slowly, begin to drip the oil into the bowl with the egg mixture, whisking constantly and vigorously. You are making an emulsion, and emulsions are very tricky. At the beginning, you must literally add the oil drop by drop, making sure it is incorporated before adding more.
The mixture will thicken and lighten little by little at first, and then faster and faster.
Once you have added about 1/4 cup of the oil, you can speed up the rate at which you are adding the oil. Continue to whisk constantly, taking a break if your arm tires. If your bowl is moving around a lot, try putting a damp kitchen towel under it.
After about 1/2 cup has been added, you can speed up even more until all the oil is incorporated.
If the aioli is too thick, add a teaspoon of water at a time to loosen it up to what you desire. Whisk in a clove of minced garlic and let sit for at least 10 minutes, to allow the flavors to meld.
Note: This recipe includes a raw egg yolk, so look for pasteurized eggs if this concerns you. Truffle Aioli will keep up to 3-4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Is there an easier way to make Truffle Aioli?
Ok, yes, there is. If you avoid eating raw egg yolks or just really don’t want to make your own mayonnaise, you can also make truffle aioli by whisking 3/4-1 cup of mayonnaise with a tablespoon of truffle oil, a minced garlic clove, and a bit of lemon juice. You may find the texture to be a little looser than you prefer if you use this method, but it still works!
What are truffles?
Famous French gourmet Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin referred to truffles as “the diamond of the kitchen.” They are a type of fungi that typically grow around the roots of particular types of trees and come in two main varieties: black and white. Truffles require very specific growing conditions and eluded cultivation for many years.
In the 1800s, farmers in southern France began to figure out how to grow black truffles and created truffle farms. Production peaked in the late 1800s before taking a hit from industrialization followed by World War I and then World War II. As the number of truffle farms declined and truffles became more and more scarce, prices rose dramatically.
Truffle production has increased since the 1970s, but truffles are still very much in demand. Since truffles grow underground, truffle hunters often use animals, including truffle pigs and trained dogs, to help sniff them out. Other countries such as the U.K., the U.S., Australia, Sweden, Italy, and more have begun to grow truffles. Here’s to more availability and lower prices in the future!
What is aioli?
In the past, aioli referred to a very traditional emulsion of garlic with olive oil. Today, the word aioli is used almost interchangeably with mayonnaise. Aioli usually refers to a mayonnaise (homemade or not) mixed with garlic, but is now also used to describe mayonnaise mixed with all sorts of spices or other ingredients. Smoked paprika aioli, sriracha aioli, garlic aioli, basil aioli—the possibilities are endless.
What can I do with truffle aioli?
You can use truffle aioli in most places you would usually use mayonnaise. Use truffle aioli instead of mayo to make a next-level chicken salad or egg salad dish. May I suggest this Egg Salad with Bacon recipe? Or, use it as a spread on your sandwich du jour. Blend it into mashed potatoes or serve on top of a potato frittata. Mix it with some dijon mustard and serve as a sauce for crab cakes. But this aioli is so good you’ll want to use it by itself and not just as a component in your dish. It makes a fantastic dip for a crudité platter, or for a bowl of chilled shrimp. Steam artichokes and dip their leaves in aioli to eat.
Or serve with regular french fries or sweet potato fries instead of ketchup. Toss it with steamed green beans or asparagus. In the South of France, where bouillabaisse is popular, a bowl of that seafood stew often comes with baguette toasts slathered with aioli. It’s fantastic, but I do think serving with a truffle aioli instead might just take that dish right over the top.
Where do I find truffle oil?
Truffle oil is a good substitute for truffles; however, try to look for a truffle oil made from real truffles. Many truffle oils are artificially flavored, and not as delicious as the real thing. If you’re in Paris, I found high-quality truffle oil at G. Detou (not to mention the bags of chocolate I also purchased there.) In the States, you can usually find black truffle oil and white truffle oil at specialty grocery stores. Olivier and Co. also sells high-quality truffle oils and salts, like this one, and they ship within the United States. Truffle salt is also a great option for inexpensive truffle flavor.
Other France-Inspired Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, you might want to check out some of my other France-inspired recipes including:
- Celeriac Remoulade
- Easy Sole Meuniere
- Coq Au Vin Blanc
- Salade de Tomates
- Vin Chaud
- Baked Brie with Fig Jam
- Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls
- Green Beans Almondine
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 1 t. Dijon mustard
- 1 t. lemon juice
- 1/4 t. kosher salt
- 1 T. truffle oil (black truffle preferred)
- Up to 3/4 c. neutral oil, such as vegetable oil or grapeseed oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced or grated
- Whisk together egg yolk, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt in a small-medium bowl. I like to use a glass bowl so you can really see what is happening.
- In a measuring cup with a spout, combine the truffle oil and neutral oil.
- Very slowly, begin to drip the oil into the bowl with the egg mixture, whisking constantly and vigorously. You are making an emulsion, and emulsions are very tricky. At the beginning, you must literally add the oil drop by drop, making sure it is incorporated before adding more.
- The mixture will thicken little by little at first, and then faster and faster. Once you have added about 1/4 cup of the oil, you can speed up the rate at which you are adding the oil.
- Continue to whisk constantly, taking a break if your arm tires. If your bowl is moving around a lot, you can try stabilizing it by placing it on top of a damp kitchen towel. After about 1/2 cup of oil has been added, you can speed up even more until all the oil is incorporated.
- If the aioli is too thick, add a teaspoon of water at a time to loosen it up to what you desire.
- Whisk in the minced garlic and let sit for at least 10 minutes, to allow the flavors to meld.
This recipe includes a raw egg yolk, so look for pasteurized eggs if this concerns you. Truffle Aioli will keep up to 3-4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 37gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 145mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.