Saturday, January 10, 2009

Clementine Aioli

This is another recipe, recently rediscovered, from Dana Jacobi's Natural Health Cookbook. I've been working on 'Project Vegetable' with Elspeth, making sure to offer her several different vegetables at a meal so that she's exposed to a wide variety and takes lots of vegetables as a matter of course (as it were). I had bought some cauliflower and thought that, just because I've always preferred my veggies plain, it doesn't mean that Elspeth might not like a sauce now and then. I've heard that many kids really get into dipping so I decided to try it.

I don't tend to have big oranges on hand, but in the winter we almost always have clementines (which I prefer to satsumas), so I took a risk and used that. It worked great! I also reduced the garlic in the recipe, not for Elspeth's benefit, but because Cook's Illustrated recently revealed that garlic will get stronger over time and I wanted to be able to use the sauce over more than one day.

I had thought I was such a French food expert and believed that aioli was garlic mayonnaise. Wrong! I was also puzzled that Jacobi called her recipe 'allioli'. It turns out that traditionally aioli is just garlic and olive oil with no eggs (no wonder I like it) and that allioli is the Catalan version.

At any rate, Elspeth ended up eating the cauliflower dipped or plain and loved the sauce so much that in the end she abandoned dipping and just raised the dish to her mouth and quaffed the lot--on two separate occasions! I guess she knows her good fat when she tastes it.

This sauce is great with cauliflower but I suspect would work well with many steamed veggies.

1-3 cloves garlic, put through a press (the garlic needs to be super fine)
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 c. clementine, tangerine or orange juice
Zest of 1 clementine
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

  1. Combine the clementine juice, zest, black pepper and the salt (this is so the salt dissolves--it won't dissolve in the oil so doing this ensures even distribution of salt). Set aside
  2. Whisk together the garlic and olive oil in a small bowl
  3. Slowly drizzle the juice mixture into the oil/garlic and whisk constantly until the mixture is well incorporated and emulsified (the recipe doesn't make sufficient quantity to make a food processor workable, but I made it with great success in the blender)
  4. Serve over steamed vegetables. Keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days but you'll need to warm to room temperature and shake or whisk well before serving again

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