Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Artichokes with garlic aioli; pasta with onions and tomatoes

We forgot to take pictures yesterday. The entre was a simple enough: in the cast iron skillet, cook three onions, coarsely chopped, with 1 Tbsp butter for about 25 minutes, then add 1 pound slightly old cherry tomatoes, halved, and cook another ten minutes; toss with farfale and fresh basil. But what made the meal special was the appetizer. We peeled the outer layers from two artichokes, and boiled them for 30 minutes (much too long, as it turns out, but they were tasty nontheless). We dipped the petals in a home-made garlic aioli:
  1. Mince one large clove garlic and mash with some salt in the mortar and pestle into a paste. The salt helps it mash.
  2. Separate an egg and save the white for some other dish. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yolk, the minced garlic, and 1/2 tsp water.
  3. Measure between 1/2 cup and 1 cup olive oil into something with a pour spout. For a large gathering, one egg yolk will accommodate up to 1 cup oil, but we used only 1/2 cup for the two of us.
  4. Dribble some olive oil into the egg mixture, and whisk to combine. Dribble a little more in, whisking all the time. Pretty quickly the mixture will thicken and lighten in color. When this happens, you can start pouring the olive oil in faster, whisking all the time.
  5. Alice Waters says the let the mixture refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the flavors marry. She does not like the aioli made more than a few hours ahead.
A note on raw egg. My understanding, based on Cookwise, is that salmonella, though definitely a risk with any raw egg, is largely a problem only if you have unhealthy chickens. And it is only a problem in the yolk, not the white. The white is almost entirely pure protein, with no fat whatsoever, and the salmonella bacteria have nothing to eat. Salmonella is passed from mother to egg inside the chicken, and is in the yolk. There have been cases of salmonella in the white, but they are very rare, and require that you do almost everything wrong, like leaving your eggs at room temperature for more than a week. Anyway, it's a risk in the yolk, and if you feel better, you can pasteurize it before use. Kill temperature for salmonella is 140°F for 5 minutes, or 160°F for instant-kill. Be careful, though: 180°F is scrambling temperature. So it's best to use a double boiler with an accurate kitchen thermometer. Or just risk it with one Farmers' Market egg.

No comments: