Two Aioli and a Lobster Fest

By • May 23, 2011 26 Comments

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Author Notes: This past Saturday was the Pound Ridge Community Church’s annual Lobster Festival. We always get a few of the boiled lobsters, so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at from-scratch aioli – I’m usually the cheater using the Hellman’s. The saffron version is adapted from my Special Sauce, here in the food52 archives. For the second version, the idea of combining grapefruit and tarragon has been floating around in my head ever since I read about it in The Flavor Bible…just never knew how to go about it. It turned out to be pretty darn tasty in aioli. Either of these sauces would be great with any kind of seafood or shellfish, or crudité even. If we’d had any leftover lobster, which we didn’t, I would have made a lobster roll with the grapefruit-tarragon aioli, and a little diced celery. When we cook them at home, we usually steam the lobsters.mrslarkin

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Serves 4

For the Saffron-Sriracha Aioli

  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice; more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons water
  • Pinch of saffron threads, about ¼ teaspoon
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1 large egg yolk, from a room temperature egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Warm the lemon juice and water in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Or just use really hot tap water. Add saffron and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. Finely chop the garlic. Sprinkle with salt. Mash to a paste by dragging the side of a chef’s knife across the garlic several times.
  3. Place a heavy medium bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup on a damp paper towel. It won’t slip this way. Combine all the ingredients except the oils. Whisk together until blended. Slowly drizzle in the oils until emulsified and thickened. Taste carefully for salt, lemon juice and sriracha.
  4. Serve as a dipping sauce for the steamed lobster.

For the Tarragon-Grapefruit Aioli

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice; more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated grapefruit zest
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 large egg yolk, from a room temperature egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  1. Finely chop the garlic. Sprinkle with salt. Mash to a paste by dragging the side of a chef’s knife across the garlic several times.
  2. Place a heavy medium bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup on a damp paper towel. It won’t slip this way. Combine all the ingredients except the oils and tarragon. Whisk together until blended. Slowly drizzle in the oils until emulsified and thickened. Taste carefully and adjust for salt and grapefruit juice. Stir in the tarragon.
  3. Serve as a dipping sauce for the steamed lobster.
  4. Adapted from the cookbook Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: For four 1¼ pound lobsters, fill a very large pot with about two inches of water. Add two teaspoons of salt. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Tell the lobsters thank you for being your dinner and quickly place them in the pot. Put the lid on and when you see steam rising, cook for 15 minutes. Lobsters will be bright red when done. Remove from pot and serve with the aiolis and/or melted butter and some lemon wedges. Don't forget your bib.

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