I leave tomorrow.
It wasn’t until I printed my boarding pass that I started to get excited. Portugal and Spain. Three weeks. Ahhh! I’ve been planning and catching up on life since the end of tax season. It hasn’t been a bummer. The weather is turning towards summer just in time for me to leave. It’s [partially] why I wanted to go in May. Summer in Portland is just so nice. It’s hard to leave. Some cities on the
very loose agenda — Lisbon, Porto, Seville, Madrid, Barcelona. Everything else is a bonus. I expect day trips, lots of food and wine, football, and more food and wine. No grapes are safe!
I finally checked a culinary ‘to do’ off my list — aioli. I love it. I have a secret love affair with it. It’s a more mature version of my unhealthy love of jarred mayo as a kid. Once I had a taste of aioli, I would never go back. I
was am also super intimidated by it. I mean, c’mon. You have to whisk everything super slowly or it breaks and you have to start over [or I hear you can "fix" it, but yeah that's not happening]. This springy potato salad called for it, and since the rest of the dish is pretty foolproof, I figured I could give it a whirl.
Six egg yolks, 2+ cups of oil, and Andrew’s help later, we had a cup or so of aioli for the salad. I was so pumped. Almost travel pumped. In my excitement, I poured all of it into the salad, not thinking. Thankfully the salad held up to it, but you should probably start with half to 3/4 of the batch before deciding you want to eat all the aioli. Damn it was good, too. This is one of those things that tastes better just because you made it. Blood, sweat, tears, and all that. Few foods do that for me. I always think your version tastes better than mine [critical, much]? This, though. This was perfection. I could have easily spooned it straight into my mouth.
Inspiration: A Thought for Food
- 2lbs small potatoes, halved or quartered
- 20 grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups sugar snap peas, halved lengthwise
- 1 handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish [or more if you're into that]
In a pot large enough for all the potatoes, cover them with cool water until they’re just covered. Heavily salt the water and bring it to a boil. Boil them until they’re about fork tender [15 minutes] and drain.
To make the aioli, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, and salt. Then, drop by drop [seriously, I'm not exaggerating], start whisking in the oil. You want it to be fully dispersed amongst the yolk before adding more. Eventually it’ll get thick and velvety. If it starts looking like egg yolk and oil, you’ve added too much oil too quickly. This video should help. Once all the oil is whisked in, stir in the horseradish.
Toss the vegetables together with the dill. Pour in half of the aioli and stir well to cover all of the vegetables. Add more aioli as you see fit. Season with salt and paper before serving.