Saffron Aioli with Heirloom Tomatoes and Pine Nuts



Aioli is typically associated with Provence, but the sauce (a garlicky cousin of homemade mayonnaise) is found throughout Southern Europe, from France to Spain and Italy. This saffron version is fantastic with tomatoes on bread, but is also a lovely dip for crudités or potatoes. It also makes a great condiment for seafood (fish cakes!) and is a fun twist on hollandaise sauce–try it with a fried egg on crusty bread. Heavenly!


1 Tbsp
hot water
1⁄4 tsp
saffron threads
1⁄2 cup
canola oil (Can substitute mild olive oil.)
egg yolk (Preferably from a large, farm fresh egg.)
1 Tbsp
lemon juice (Freshly squeezed, if possible.)
1⁄8 tsp
garlic, minced or grated
1⁄4 tsp
sea salt
1⁄4 cup
pine nuts, toasted
baguette (Slice into approximately 24 rounds.)
heirloom tomatoes (Substitute cherry tomatoes if desired.)
basil, fresh (For garnish.)
sea salt (For garnish.)


You can whip up this luscious aioli in just minutes, but for best results let the aioli rest for an hour or so in the fridge so that the flavors have time to meld.

To Make Aioli

  1. Soak saffron threads in hot water for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain saffron liquid into a wide-mouth pint-size canning jar, pressing threads to extract as much of the saffron essence as you can.
  3. Add egg yolk, lemon juice, oil.
  4. Using immersion blender, blend just until mixture thickens.
  5. Add salt and garlic to taste.
  6. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.

To Assemble

  1. Spread each piece of bread with 1-2 teaspoons of aioli. Top with a piece of tomato, a sprinkle of pine nuts and salt. Garnish with basil sprigs.


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