Special Tool: Candy thermometer
To roast the garlic, heat your oven to 400 degrees. Place unpeeled cloves on a small sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Fold foil or paper to create a tiny pouch and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes. Cool cloves. Remove skin and mash into a paste. Mix in lemon zest.
To make the Earl Grey-infused oil, heat 1 cup of safflower oil in a small pot over low heat until it reaches 140 degrees (note: Use a candy thermometer to check temperature as higher temperatures will burn the tea leaves. You should not hear any sizzling when adding leaves to the oil. Do not substitute other oils.) Add 6 tablespoons of Earl Grey tea leaves to the heated oil. Continuously stir the leaves in the oil for 6 minutes over low heat. Remove from the burner and let cool completely. Strain oil and reserve the infused tea leaves. Chop 2½ tablespoons of the reserved infused tea leaves and set aside.
Let your eggs come to room temperature. Add two egg yolks to a medium bowl and whisk vigorously—if you find that your bowl is rolling away while you’re whisking, try wrapping the bottom with a towel to secure it. Very slowly drizzle Earl Grey-infused oil into the yolks while consistently whisking (increase to a steady stream as it thickens). Whisk in a pinch of salt, lemon juice (pour slowly), roasted garlic and lemon zest paste, and 2½ tablespoons of chopped tea leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then chill the aioli in the fridge in an airtight container for at least one hour before serving.
Making this ahead of time? Store it in airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 2 days.
Tip: If the aioli doesn’t thicken and instead breaks and looks oily or curdled, don’t toss it. The trick is to add an additional egg yolk to a second bowl, whisk and slowly whisk into the broken aioli.
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