This week's I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is particularly dear to my heart - "Sweet cloves and liquid gold"; the heaven of garlic and olive oil. We eat a lot of garlic. It is extremely unusual for us to cook a meal without garlic featuring and we are both mystified by religions that limit the eating of garlic.
|Aioli - egg yolks, garlic and good olive oil. I haven't tweaked the colour.|
I immediately knew what I wanted to make. Aioli. What could be a more perfect expression of the theme? AND it is noteworthy because about 10 years ago I made an aioli which we declared inedibly garlicky - the only time that has ever been said in our house.
|Fat cod fillets curing in salt|
In Salt Sugar Smoke, Diana Henry gives a recipe for the traditional Provençal Grand Aioli to accompany her home-salted cod. Le Grand Aioli is a funny dish, a simple collation of salt cod, eggs and steamed vegetables lifted from extreme austerity by lavish quantities of the garlicky sauce.
Because I was only making it for two people, I reduced the number and variety of vegetables, using just cauliflower and tenderstem broccoli with the potatoes and fish. I also added some quail eggs for something a little more luxurious. Unfortunately I forgot to take the fish out of the salt and put it to soak far enough in advance, so it was a bit too salty, but the luscious garlicky-but-not-too-garlicky mayonnaise was divine with the vegetables and quail eggs.
Oddly, though, the court bouillon I poached the fish in was not overly salty, so I strained it and used it the following day to cook lamb shanks in, which worked extremely well. And the rest of the aioli itself made a wonderful lunch, smeared thickly on toasted rye sourdough and served with broccoli, simply dressed with balsamic vinegar and capers.