Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2011

Aioli

Making things at home (pasta, stock, etc) rather than resorting to the store bought version gives an added umpf to all the things I make. Chicken stock is amazing when homemade, and makes risottos, soups and stews taste great compared to the store-bought option. I swear when I make my own pasta, sauce clings to it much better and it cooks up al dente perfectly every time.

Sadly I don’t have the time to always do this: so apart from salad dressing (which I always make), sometimes in a pinch I’ll grab the best quality mayo, stock (usually made by a good butcher), or fresh pasta I can lay my hands on. But then there are those times when I want something to be really really special. Whipping up a quick Aioli seems a snap and not too much to ask.

You’ll find the following content repeated in the body of another post on here. I’ve decided to re-post it as its own entry as it is well deserved.


My aioli is made as follows:

  • 2 Egg Yolks (try to get local, free range, cage free, eggs if you can. The whites will be much firmer and the yolks a more brilliant orange than ones mass produced in an egg factory)
  • (About) 2 Cups Olive Oil (Don’t use your best, extra virgin oil here. Go for the light olive oil instead. Otherwise your aioli will be overpowering and heavy. I think it doesn’t emulsify as well either)
  • 1 large Clove Garlic, minced very fine
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt & White Pepper (Black Pepper is OK too if you don’t mind black specs in your beautiful lemony colored aioli)

Method:

  1. Bring the eggs to room temperature then separate the yolks from the whites. Save the whites for another use. In a medium sized bowl wisk the garlic into the yolks until smooth and creamy.
  2. In the thinnest thread-like stream slowly add the olive oil to the yolks and garlic mixture while constantly whisking. This will take about 10 minutes of constant whisking. If your arm gets tired take a 3 second break then continue on.
  3. Eventually as the aioli emulsifies, it will get thicker and thicker. When you reach the right consistency quickly whisk in the lemon juice, cayenne, salt and white pepper.
  4. Aioli will keep up to a week in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.

Food Safety Note: As you are working with raw egg yolks, and unlike store-bought product this is not pasteurized, keep food safety in mind: refrigerate the aioli as soon as its made, use fresh ingredients, cook in a spotlessly clean kitchen. Inform your diners and let them opt out if they prefer (though most won’t!)

Things I use this for include:

  • The best BLT in the world
  • With Fritto Misto
  • Salads
  • A swirl in a bowl of Bouillabasse
  • Grand Aioli (French dish from Provence including poached salt cod, boiled potatoes, vegetable, snails, and maybe some Octopus)
Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

The display case at the Fatted Calf is attractive partly due to its tidiness


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you walk into this spotless, tidy shop in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, the first thing you notice is the daily roti de porc maison perched high upon the gleaming meat counter. Today for my visit it was described as a roast saddle of pork shoulder – hued a dark winey mahogany, it’s tender meat protected by an inch layer of flavorful oven-crisped fatback. Perfect for purchasing by the slice or pound then feasting later at home with your own vegetables, sauteed with perhaps a bit of your best olive oil and serving with a simple salad.

 

 

 

Excellent charcuterie, pork, and duck on display at the Fatted Calf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fatted Calf is one of several ‘charcuteries’ that have slowly cropped up around the bay area in recent years, though I suspect a frenchman would describe it more as a boucherie, or butchers shop. Because despite  the wonderful pates, sausages, and confits would would find in a Parisian charcuterie, most of the case features, beautiful lamb (chops, shanks, legs), pork (belly, roasts, and ready-prepared porchetta, ham, bacon, and crepinettes), duck, and chicken. Behind you top quality dry goods are offered, like pastas, heirloom variety legumes and grains; rare spices and the odd specialty ingredient or two, such as dried porcini mushrooms, vinegars, and oils.

Today I’m in the shop because CAV is out of town on business, which gives me some extra bandwidth to do some cooking, writing and posting. I’m looking to do not one dish but several, all featuring the gleaming, gem like meats from this fabulous shop. After some browsing and mental planning I settle on a big piece of pork belly, a few duck legs, some saucisson sec, here house-made french style dry sausage, and an ingredient that is hard to find, but one that I’ve wanted to cook with for years: pork cheeks. CAV will be gone for another week, and I’ve got the perfect amount of meat to last me the week.

I’ll make several dishes over the next few days including home cured pork belly with asian spices, served with a version of potato salad in which I replace the potatoes with apples, garnish with a wee bit of crisped bacon, and top the entire dish with a tangle of pea shoots tossed in vinegar and walnut oil. Also a straight forward homemade confit of duck, maybe some lentils on the side, preceded by a butter lettuce salad. First though the pork cheeks. They’re an initially tough, rarely used part of the animal, best seared quickly, then braised for a few hours in wine, a mirepoix, and a little stock. The braising coaxes the chewiness into a melting tenderness, and I think this would be great with a little cous cous.

First up though, is the pork belly.  Unfortunately I neglected to take a photo of what the cut looks like – but as some of you may not know, pork belly is the same cut bacon comes from. Here is a picture I found on google just so you can have an idea. You will recognize the lean streaks running horizontally throughout and the thick cap of fatback on top.

 

 

 

Fresh, uncured, unsmoked, fresh, fresh, fresh pork belly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dish has several components to it: a riff off of the potato salad I created which replaces the potatoes with cubes of granny smith apple, the mayonnaise with home-made aioli, and adds crispy salt pork cubbettes and parsley:

 

 

 

Aioli is a french style mayonnaise made with eggs yolks, light olive oil, and a touch of lemon


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My aioli is made as follows:

  • 2 Egg Yolks (try to get local, free range, cage free, eggs if you can. The whites will be much firmer and the yolks a more brilliant orange than ones mass produced in an egg factory)
  • (About) 2 Cups Olive Oil (Don’t use your best, extra virgin oil here. Go for the light olive oil instead. Otherwise your aioli will be overpowering and heavy. I think it doesn’t emulsify as well either)
  • 1 large Clove Garlic, minced very fine
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt & White Pepper (Black Pepper is OK too if you don’t mind black specs in your beautiful lemony colored aioli)

Method:

  1. Bring the eggs to room temperature then separate the yolks from the whites. Save the whites for another use. In a medium sized bowl wisk the garlic into the yolks until smooth and creamy.
  2. In the thinnest thread-like stream slowly add the olive oil to the yolks and garlic mixture while constantly whisking. This will take about 10 minutes of constant whisking. If you arm get tired take a 3 second break then continue on.
  3. Eventually as the aioli emulsifies, it will get thicker and thicker. When you reach the right consistency quickly whisk in the lemon juice, cayenne, salt and white pepper.
  4. Aioli will keep up to a week in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.

Food Safety Note: As you are working with raw egg yolks, and unlike store-bought product this is not pasteurized, keep food safety in mind: refrigerate the aioli as soon as its made, use fresh ingredients, cook in a spotlessly clean kitchen. Inform your diners and let them opt out if they prefer (though most won’t!)

Once the aioli is made, I slice some salt pork into small cubes, dice my apples, mince my parsley, and gather my mis-en-place for the apple salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I should describe how I did the pork, though due to my own silliness  I don’t have pictures to show you. the day before cooking I took the pork belly, cut a criss cross hatch pattern in the rind (so the fat renders while offer, rubbed it down generously with sea salt and a pinch of turbinado sugar; then sprinkled ground and whole-seed cumin throughout. A little garlic in there too. Maybe some fresh herbs (thyme, parsley). Let this cure overnight. The next day, 8 hours before serving, preheat oven to about 200F. Roast the pork belly slowly slowly like this until the fat breaks down to a mellow yummy softness. The rind on top will become hard and crispy.

Now I finish the apple salad. To the diced apples I add the salt pork, parsley, and a spoonful of the aioli. I take a tangle of pea shoots and toss them with a little walnut oil in a bowl. I salt and pepper them too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I place a bed of the apple salad on the plate , place a piece of pork belly and some pea shoots on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a delicious dish. Perfect for fall and winter when apples are in season and craving for heavier fare abound. The pork is crispy, meltingly tender, and full of flavor. This approaches the richness of confit as it is the same cut as bacon. Because of this I like to serve it in small portions and couple it with something fresh and crispy to provide a contrast in textures, rich vs. clean, salty vs fresh.

Read Full Post »