Toum is a Eastern Mediterranean/Middle Eastern garlic spread or aioli (mayonnaise), made with oil, lemon, salt, and garlic. It differs from European aioli because it generally does not contain eggs. It takes 15-20 minutes to emulsify in the food processor and the result is a creamy white, smooth and light spread that is absolutely delicious. It is so versatile. We use it as an accompaniment for lamb, beef, and chicken, spread it on pita and sandwiches, or as a dip for raw and roasted vegetables. It is also great with French fries and bread. It can last for several weeks in the refrigerator, but if you are a garlic lover I think it will disappear quickly. The recipe is adapted from maureenabood.com.
The trick to making the emulsion work without breaking up is to add your lemon juice and oil in a very slow stream, stopping to scrape down the bowl fairly often. Once the emulsion is complete, place in a 1-pint jar with a paper towel on top of the emulsion to collect any condensation. Place in the refrigerator. Keep the paper towel on overnight. This prevents moisture from breaking up your emulsion. Remove paper towel and screw on a lid. Store in the refrigerator. The intense garlic flavor mellows in a couple of days.
Middle Eastern Garlic Spread (Toum)
1/3 c. fresh peeled garlic (18-20 cloves from 1-1/2 heads of garlic)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice, strained
1-3/4 c. canola oil
Place peeled garlic and salt in a food processor. Pulse to make a paste. Scrape the sides of the bowl. With the motor running add 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice and 1/4 c. canola oil in a very slow stream. The mixture will begin to get creamy. Scrape the sides with a spatula again and add sugar. Pulse. Continue with motor running, adding 1 tsp. lemon juice and 1/4 c. oil in a slow stream, scraping down the sides until you use up the lemon and oil. You will know you have the right consistency when the mixture is creamy and smooth like mayonnaise. Taste and see if you need a little more salt. Then pour into a 1-pint jar or bowl. Cover with paper towel directly on the surface and refrigerate overnight. Replace paper towel with a lid. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.