Lemony Saffron Aioli

  • Prep Time:
  • 5 mins
  • Cook Time:
  • 15 mins
  • Total Time:
  • 0 hour(s)
  • 20 mins

This bright, Spanish sunshine yellow aioli gets a double dose of lemon from both lemon zest and lemon juice. The saffron is bloomed in the lemon juice, resulting in an aioli full of fragrant flavor. Serve alongside our recipe for Mackerel Tortilla Española (Spanish potato omelette with mackerel). This lemony saffron aioli is also wonderful with fish and seafood. Try it as a dipping sauce for fried sardines, sardines or shrimp. Or, spread a thin layer of aioli on a cracker or crostini and top with Conservas Ortiz Ventresca, an extra squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a few flakes of crunchy salt.

The foolproof aioli technique used in this recipe is inspired by renowned New York Chef Daniel Boulud, who uses both a raw egg yolk and a lightly poached egg to bind his aioli. The poached egg helps prevent the aioli from separating and results in a light, fluffy, silken finished product.

Recipe, food styling and photography by Asha Loupy

Makes 1 1/2 cups


  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup mild Spanish extra virgin olive oil, such as As Pontis


Combine the saffron, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Let macerate for 5-10 minutes, allowing the saffron to infuse into the lemon juice.

While the saffron is macerating, fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Crack the whole egg into the water and poach for 2 minutes (you want the whites to just start to set and the yolk to remain runny).

Transfer the poached egg to a blender along with the reserved saffron and lemon mixure, the egg yolk, garlic and salt. Blend until well combined.

With the blender running, begin adding the extra virgin olive oil in a very, very slow steady stream (we are talking a couple drops at a time to start). When half the oil has been added, stop to scrape the sides of the blender and check the consistency—the mixture should be starting to thicken. Continue to slowly add the remaining oil, while the machine is running, until the mixture is the consistency of mayonnaise. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Refrigerate until serving.

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