Purple Cauliflower with Aioli


The other night I made a stew (post to come later in the week) but I started too late: it wouldn’t be ready until 10:30. “10:30?” yelped Craig. “But I’m starving.” It was 8 when he said this.

I sprung to action. In a plastic bag on the table was a head of purple cauliflower I bought at the farmer’s market on Friday. It cost $3. I cut it into bite-size pieces and put it on a platter. Then I made aioli.

Well, to be honest, I made two bad attempts at aioli and then I finally–thank the Lord–made aioli. Here’s the technique I perfected:

Take a egg yolk and put it in a BIG bowl. Take a clove of garlic and put it through a garlic press. I almost never use a garlic press, but for aioli it works better (at least based on my attempts) because the garlic gets pulverized. Put the garlic in the bowl with the yolk, add some salt and pepper, and then grab a whisk. Here’s where it gets tricky. Whisk all of that together and then, as carefully as you can, put one single drop of olive oil in the bowl. Whisk that in. Then do another drop. Whisk again. Go drop by drop and the aioli will stay thick. You want it to look like mayo: if it breaks down into oil and solids you’ve messed up. But my third try rewarded my patience: I went drop by drop and then I advanced to the barest trickle. Eventually I had the aioli you see above and it was terrific.

So as your loved ones get cranky next time you’re cooking, whip up some aioli and have a purple cauliflower ready. To quote Escoffier, “You can never go wrong with purple cauliflower and aioli. Bitch.”

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