Musing with Max

Musing with Max

July 16, 2011

Garlic Breath

I know someone who hates garlic. Hates it so much that when she orders a dish at a restaurant she always asks if it contains garlic and if it does will then proceed to ask if it can be removed or she won't order it. This is someone who claims to be a good cook. Sorry but that just doesn't jive with me, or probably with most cooks. I adore garlic and have a tendency to go a little overboard when adding it to just about anything. Just about every fish fillet or steak I cook is done the same way: salt & pepper then brushed with a mixture of minced garlic (lots of it) and olive oil and maybe some herb and then sauteed or grilled, brushing with the olive oil mixture as needed.
I'm of the mindset that if I want fish, I want fish and want it to taste like fish whichever fish that might be; so adding a whole bunch of other stuff to it just beats the purpose. Garlic & olive oil however will always enhance anything. I do the same with London broil, pork tenderloin, chicken pieces, etc.

So it should come as no surprise that one of my favorite condiments in the world is Aioli. Aioli is, plainly put, garlic mayonnaise...and it is heavenly. What in my mind makes it even more heavenly is that for the most part you need to make it yourself, and homemade mayonnaise is sublime. Problem is you need to gobble it up within a couple of weeks, raw eggs you see, my kind of problem. Either way, when Summer starts to show itself and we start to move outdoors and the heat starts to rise I can't wait to make an Aioli platter, which is a French dish, from Provence or the South of France or some such place where we can transport our little heads to. It consists of poached codfish, artichokes, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, beets, carrots, red and green peppers, hard boiled eggs, aioli and capers for garnish. I usually use salt cod which I soak overnight then simmer until tender and let cool. For the most part the vegetables are cooked and cooled but I like to cook them and them marinate them in a little olive oil and, guess what?...garlic! The peppers I usually roast on the stove and then marinate them guessed it...olive oil and garlic. Then I make the aioli:

adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook:

8 to 10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 egg yolks, at room temp.
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
juice of one lemon
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups of oil (combo of peanut & olive)

1. Puree garlic in food processor or blender. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl until light and smooth, and add to the garlic. Add salt & pepper to taste, lemon juice, and mustard and process to a smooth paste.
2. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a slow steady stream, blending constantly. Continue blending until you obtain a thick, shiny sauce.

The aioli platter looks beautiful with the sauce siting in the middle and all the other foods surrounding it
My thinking is that once you have the cod and the aioli the rest depends on what you have on hand, to a certain extent.

When serving make sure everyone gets a little bit of everything

and then you can pretend you are in this movie.

Le Max pense qui est simplement grand!

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