Don’t-Do-It-In-Provence Aïoli

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Word on the street has it for some time, that Tony has wrapped his last episode of No Reservations, and filming what is said to be his last season of The layover.  Roughly 1 month ago, the cold-blooded confirmation came in his blog that he is indeed parting with the shows that have come to be a great part of my culinary adventure for the past 9 years.  …Abandonment is what comes to mind.  How dare you leave us with our nights to be spent with Sam B. or Andrew Zimmer’s clotted blood… or fermented ball sacks… or whatever.

But I’m not going to be sentimental.  I’m not gonna go – how you’ve been a beacon of light for chasing the next food-high and we are going to miss you dearly – there.  Because this post is really written to be, in all honesty, just a sidetrack component for another main recipe to come (it’s pork belly sandwich… sniff… you’ll love it).  So let me bid you farewell… uh, in another 19-episodes time.  And raise a spoon to make a toast.

To you, Tony.  To Next.

But I wasn’t completely lying when I said this is a tribute to you.  As I couldn’t possibly make an aïoli for the first time without remembering what they did to you in Provence.  How they deemed you unworthy to make an aïoli the right way.  How they stripped every ounce of confidence from you that you believed you couldn’t possibly deliver more than just embarrassment.  How they planted fear in your brain like food terrorists.  THAT’S not cool.  So I will finish what you didn’t.  Even though not in Provence but to prove them wrong, I will do it in a kitchen that is TOO NOISY with the TV blasting, TOO CROWDED with 3 dogs running around, TOO WINDY with the fan going at high, BUT reeks NO fear to be smelled and prove that aïoli isn’t but a garlic mayonnaise (only more pungent and rich and delicious… and actually not really like… a mayonnaise…)!!

So rest… take a rest in peace.  I know you utterly and selfishly chose your wife over us (who acts weird by the way), and your daughter over us, and a “reeeeaal” vacation over us.  Go lay by a luxury hotel pool and order in-room service like we all know you secretly enjoy.  Go take a stroll along the Upper East Side brownstones in your custom hand-made shoes like we all know that’s how you roll these days.  Forget lying about passionately wanting to move to Vietnam because we all know how your wife is SO NOT gonna dig that.  No bad feelings.  We all had a good run.  See you in next.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of coarse sea salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

*  This is a component in the next story, Asian Porchetta Sandwich.  Since I feel like it’s going to be so widely used, I decided to pull it out into another category.

A mortar is needed for this.  A very very orange yolk is also needed.

Put 3 cloves of garlic and 1/2 tsp of coarse sea salt in a mortar and pound and crush until the garlic is mashed to almost pureed consistency.  Add the lemon juice and egg yolk and mix until combined.

Set 1/2 cup of olive oil on the side with a small spoon.  Little bit by little bit, 1 small spoon at a time, add the oil into the mortar while turning and mixing it into the egg yolk mixture.  DO NOT add the next bit of oil UNTIL all the “current” oil is fully mixed and incorporated.  An emulsion will form, and if the oil is added too quickly or by too much, the emulsion will “break”, meaning the oil will separate from the liquid.  Do not rush.  Feed the dogs and answer all the emails before starting so there’s nothing else to attend to.  I ain’t afraid.  I’m just being careful.

The color of the mixture will get paler and paler as more oil is added.  Do this until all 1/2 cup of oil is incorporated.  Add freshly ground black pepper to taste, about 1/4 tsp.  Adjust the saltiness with fine sea salt.  Refrigerate and it will keep for up to 2 week.

There.  Aïoli.  In your face, “Provencians”!

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