I was recently invited to take part in the Maille Culinary Challenge – Maille are offering bloggers some of their products to create inspiring and exciting recipes with. While Maille are known for their range of mustard, it turns out that they make a huge range of other interesting products, which you can browse through on their website.
The first of two products I chose to try was their Hazelnut Oil, and it took me a week or so to fully nail down what I wanted to do with it. When you get a quality product like this, you want to make the most of it! I finally had some inspiration and decided to whisk up a homemade aioli.
Usually, you would make a mayonnaise or aioli with a flavourless oil, but this time I thought I’d let the flavour of the hazelnuts shine. I took a few snaps as I went along, but it’s a tricky process to document when you only have two hands. Which, let’s face it, is a predicament most of us face on a daily basis. The method is simple, but it can be time consuming (especially if you’re trying to photograph it!). However, do not be afraid! Give it a go! You can also make mayo in a food processor or blender – the Hairy Bikers have a foolproof recipe right here – but there’s something satisfying about whisking it by hand.
I tried to make a small batch (not easy), because homemade mayo and aioli don’t keep particularly well. Here are the ingredients for the smallest amount I could manage:
- 1/2 tsp egg yolk
- pinch salt
- 80ml hazelnut oil
- 2 segments of clementine
- a dab of mustard – about 1/8 tsp
- 2 – 3 drops white wine vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
Note: have a spatula on hand to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go along, so that you can be sure you’re combining all the egg yolk and oil together evenly.
Put the egg yolk and salt in a small bowl, and whisk together.
Begin to add the oil – start with a drop or two at a time, and make sure to whisk thoroughly. Adding the oil really slowly like this makes it less likely that the aioli will start to separate.
The egg yolk will soon become creamy and start to turn a paler colour. After a little while, the mix will become really thick and difficult to stir. When it comes to this time, squeeze in the juice from two segments of clementine – clementine is sweet as well as citrusy, which is a nice combination for this recipe. You could also use about 1/2 tsp of lemon juice, in which case you could miss out the vinegar later on. Whisk the clementine juice in, which will thin the mixture out again, and then continue to add and whisk in the oil. You can proceed a bit more quickly now, pouring the oil in a thin stream instead of drop by drop.
Once you’ve added all the oil – or reached a suitably thick texture – add the mustard (I used wholegrain but dijon would also be great), and the vinegar, stir through and taste – add seasoning if you need it. The aioli will be much paler and have increased greatly in volume.
You’ll end up with a creamy, nutty spread that you can use as a dip, add to sandwiches, devil eggs with or whatever else you fancy.
Thanks, Maille, for sending me this hazelnut oil to try! It would also be great for making salad dressings, drizzling over soups, tossing through roasted vegetables or any other number of things. It’s not an oil to cook with, save it for the finishing touches.
Here’s another shot of the finished result – Hazelnut Aioli:
See other entries to the competition by checking the #Mailleflavours tag on Twitter. There are some incredible recipes already happening, and the competition runs until the end of April.