Monday, January 10, 2011
I've never been a fan of mayo. Or sour cream. Or yogurt. Blech. So why did I decide to make homemade aioli (that's garlic mayo, y'all)? It must be because all of the healthy veggies that I've been eating. That's so not meant to last. And...I did happen to come home with a couple of heads of smoked garlic. Totally random. I had never seen it before, but it just seemed like the perfect ingredient for a smoked garlic aioli with patatas bravas...aka Spanish fries. Oh. Yeah. And aioli just sounds so much better than mayo.
Apparently smoked garlic is popular in France where it is known as Ail Fumé. In all of the days (!) that I've been there, I never noticed it in markets or on menus. (Francophiles? Any insight?) Anyhoo, it evidently exists in New York grocery stores and I am it's happy recipient. It smells a lot more smokey than it tastes, but proves the perfect partner for my aioli. Well, after I made it a second time. The first one kind of broke. Whoops!
When you make your own mayo BY HAND, you have to be patient and initially only add a few drops of oil at a time so that it thickens gradually without breaking. I guess my arm was getting tired of whisking (it was about to fall off!) so I added the oil too quickly. Don't despair. There is a way to bring it back! Add a single room temperature egg yolk to a medium bowl, then slowly whisk the separated aioli into it. The additional yolk re-emulsifies the sauce. Boom.
I didn't deep fry my potatoes because all of that hot oil kind of scares me, but I did recall that my mom used to saute sliced potatoes for a dinner side dish sometimes. They look super tasty, right? They were! Even though they weren't deep fried. Just add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a frying pan, heat, then add sliced potatoes in a single layer. Cook for 4 minutes then flip and cook about 4 minutes more until golden. Toss with salt. Eat.
As good as this crispy potato-smoked garlic aioli combo is, I'm still not down with mayo. Or sour cream. Or yogurt. Or pudding...
Smoked Garlic Aioli
2 smoked garlic cloves
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1. Mince the garlic and then mash to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife. (Or, use my new technique and grate the garlic cloves on a microplane.) Whisk together the yolk and mashed garlic in a bowl. Combine the oils and initially add just a few drops at a time to the yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until the aioli begins to thicken. Then add the oil slowly in a very thin stream (whisking constantly!) until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture is emulsified. (If the mixture separates (see photo of my broken aioli!), stop adding the oil and continue whisking until the mixture comes together, then resume adding oil.)
2. Whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. If aïoli is too thick, whisk in 1 or 2 drops of water. Chill, covered, until ready to use.