This story begins, like all good origin stories, with a potato. Loving potatoes was just a constant in my life, like going to school or my parents. I loved them in every shape and form, but it wasn’t until I arrived in Brisbane that I truly understood how great the potato could be. I discovered Aioli. I do not sadly remember where I first tasted one of God’s greatest creations, but I do remember the first place I became addicted to the stuff. The Wordsmiths Cafe at UQ served a massive bowl of thick cut chips, the oil leaking out of the super crunchy edges, with, and this was important, a large bowl of garlicky heaven. There is nothing worse then still having chips with no mayo. The best aioli I have ever had was a seaweed mayo at the Roma street Parklands cafe. Fantastic.
Now if you are just whipping up a salad dressing or need a squirt on a burger, you can’t go past a bottle of Kewpie. One of those in the fridge and one in the cupboard is essential. (You’ll need the one in the cupboard because you’ll always use more than you think, it’s many and varied uses will be dealt with down the track) but if you are dipping something into mayonnaise you’ll want the real deal, which means made with raw eggs, as all supermarket mayo is pasteurised.
‘This brings us to the second part of this post, and my first bit of essential kit. The stem blender is probably the cheapest bit of kitchen gear you can get with a motor and it is very, very versatile. Soups, smoothies, sauces are all made easier with it. Pay a scant bit more money and get the whisk and food processor attachment and you can get a batch of crumbs or whisk some egg whites in a flash. Mayo, though, mayo is where it is truly like a piece of magic. For this particular technique I will introduce a character that seems like he must come from a fictional book, because indeed he does.* Flinthart taught me that truly great mayo can be made in mere minutes, with no pesky whisking or dribbling of oil. Soon you too will be dipping your chips into the nectar of the gods.
1 cloves of garlic, one egg yolk from a chicken of good reputation, salt, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of water (I fill one half of the egg shell as a measure), 2 thirds of a cup of vegetable, canola or any light flavoured oil, a squeeze of citrus juice.
Place all ingredients in the container that usually comes with the blender. Stick the blender in, wait a second for the oil to settle a bit, then start it up. Slowly lift the blender, watching as the oil magically emulsifies into the other ingredients. Scrape out into the bowl and contemplate whether you have made enough.
TRAPS FOR YOUNG PLAYERS- the very first recipe I used, one with whisking and dribbling and general faffing about, used olive oil for the oil and it gave the mayo a very strong flavour. For some reason I never really questioned it, but once I tried a lighter oil it was far superior. Likewise the water, that is what gives it that fluffy, creamy texture. Don’t leave it out.
*Tasmanian Babes Fiasco - John Birmingham