September 5, 2012

Hipster Kitchen: Grungy, Classy Aioli

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True dirty hipsters have their dirt down to an art. The gritty haze of a toy camera lens, the janky thrift-store clothes, the perfectly mussed unwashed hair — without context, one might find this stuff bit off-putting, but in the correct combination these elements impart a kind of visceral legitimacy to a lifestyle that is otherwise trivial and artificial. In a recent article for LA Weekly, Paul T. Bradley made a passing stab at “hip poseurs who refuse to get their hands dirty, that is, unless that filth is quaint and photogenic.” And it’s true. It’s necessary to keep from verging into dirty hippie territory—limp-looking white people dreadlocks, freaky potlucks—and plant oneself firmly in the category of dirty but cool.

Aioli, then, might be the most perfect food metaphor for hipster philosophy. A classic European sauce, rich and garlicky, it’s the precursor to mayonnaise and also happens to be made using raw eggs. So unprocessed! So subversive! So real!  What else juxtaposes classy with filthy, elegant with raw, in such simple perfection? The potential hazards of raw egg are not to be trifled with, but honestly, this stuff is on the menu in a million restaurants, and whipping up a batch at home just means that it’s even better due to its DIY nature. (See also: pudding.)

This aioli recipe is closer to a homemade mayonnaise than a thin sauce. It’s great over steamed green beans, or as a means of elevating a sandwich to gourmet heights. Alternatively, skip the sandwich part and just slather it on bread for the true daredevil hedonist experience. Come on. Live dangerously. Jack Kerouac would be proud. Or something.

AIOLI (garlic mayonnaise)

1 egg yolk

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

salt & pepper to taste

2/3 cup canola oil (you can use another kind of oil if you like – olive oil will give the finished product an earthy flavor, and grapeseed is expensive but would probably be really delicious)

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper until just blended. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly and thoroughly until the sauce is a smooth uniform emulsion that resembles mayonnaise. Use immediately, or cover and place in the fridge, where it can be kept for two days before its raw factor stops being cool and starts being kind of questionable.

Original Author: Clare Dougan