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Saffron Aioli with Heirloom Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

Saffron Aioli with Heirloom Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

A beautiful golden aioli, fragrant with saffron, lemon, and garlic, is the star of this simple appetizer.
By Maya Parson

Saffron Aioli

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 and you won’t be sorry!

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Saffron Aioli with Heirloom Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Maya Parson
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8-12 1x


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.


  • 1 Tablespoon hot water
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • ½ cup canola oil or mild-flavored olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk (preferably from a large, farm fresh egg)
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon minced garlic, approx.
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, approx.
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 baguette, sliced into approximately 24 thin rounds
  • 34 small heirloom tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
  • Fresh basil and sea salt for garnish


Saffron 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.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins
View Comments (4)
  • I can’t wait to try this. Sounds really simple and delicious…and I love the idea of this with a fried egg and crusty bread! Yum. will be trying it out soon….

  • Just made this with the fried egg/crusty bread suggestion: SUPER YUM…couldn’t even wait the flavor-melding hour, still *fantastic*.

  • A neighbor and I were talking yesterday about the fact that we can’t find any saffron in the local markets these days. It turns out we both were looking for it so we could try this recipe…Next week I’ll make the 200 mile trek north to get some…

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