Purple Cauliflower with Aioli

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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.”

9 comments

  1. Next time, when you really want a hot, hot garlic-y dip try the Spanish version: allioli. No egg yolk, just lots of garlic and a bit of salt and olive oil. I did it last summer (post, July 30) and it was awesome…and just a bit overwhelming.

    Too bad about the pasta pot… and the foot…

  2. I always use a blender for anything even remotely mayo-like. I always make mayonnaise from scratch and have some around (it keeps for about a month). I’ve rambled on about my deep love of homemade mayo on my own site…

    I can’t bring myself to look at the foot picture. I remember the time I dumped an entire (commercial size) ladle of boiling hot clam chowder on my hand…I feel your pain.

  3. “To quote Escoffier, ‘You can never go wrong with purple cauliflower and aioli. Bitch.'”

    Hahahaha, that just made my morning.

    I was with you on the aioli until the emulsifying; I made my own mayonnaise once, and while it was delicious, I just don’t think I have the stamina to do that again, heh. Maybe this weekend? It DOES sound delicious …

  4. Looks like another Alice Waters moment! Forgive me for my ignorance if such is the case, but I was always under the impression aioli was made with anchovies. Otherwise it’s just like mayonnaise but maybe a bit lighter, right?

  5. Dear God, Adam, use a blender next time! Put a whole clove of garlic, salt and an egg yoke in the blender, cover, turn it on, and then drizzle the oil very slowly through the hole in the lid until it thickens to the consistency you like.

    I hate commercial mayonnaise, but this method for garlic mayo has me practically licking the blender.

  6. I think that’s “… purple cauliflower and aioli (comma) Bitch.”

    I laughed out loud at this one. Thanks for sharing the picture of your foot. Of course I had to look. You know what they say “If you can’t be a shining example, at least be a good cautionary tale.”

    S.

  7. You need two things in your kitchen: Pressure Cooker and a Stick Blender. If you had them, this post would’ve been non-existent.

  8. Stick blender’s nice for this, but I got a mortar and pestle, a good heavy one, last year, it’s really good for this kind of thing.

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