A Recipe & A Secret

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I have two things to share with you today – one is a recipe that’s not mine; the other, a secret that is.

First, the recipe.

It came to me via the WetLeather motorcycling foodie email list. One of its patriarchs, Martin, is rather fond of garlic. The recipe is simple, and I leave it in Martin’s own words:

The garlic is strong with this one.

I suspect that this dish dates back at least to the Phoenicians. It’s
still popular from Lebanon to Spain (though the latter-day Greeks have
diluted it with HORROR! potatoes! and the French have surrendered to
the mayonnaise). Recipe variations can be found on the web by

Some recipes say this can be made in a processor or blender. That’s
only worked for me once with a stick blender; the garlic usually
doesn’t get fine enough to emulsify. YBMV. I enjoy the process,
especially when the salt makes the garlic all gucky.

Aioli in the Classic Style

60 grams (about 2 oz) garlic cloves, peeled, roots trimmed, and chopped*
1 t kosher salt
1 t lemon or lime juice
1/4 C olive oil**

A honking big mortar and pestle (my small mortar has a 6″ bowl. The big
one is at Treehouse).

*It’s possible to start with whole garlic cloves, but it’s easier if
they’re already chopped. I use a monster garlic press.

Mortar the garlic to a rough paste. Add the salt, which will help with
crushing and thicken up the garlic, and continue mortaring. When the
garlic is a smooth paste, start dripping the oil in a little at a time.

**You can likely add more oil, which will mellow the flavor a bit.
To avoid breaking the emulsion, add the additional oil in glops
(say, 1/2 t).  When the mixture begins to break at the edges of the
oil puddle, finish mixing the last glop in and stop (kinda like the
Big Bang theory for motorcycles).

Stir in the lemon juice.

The aioli will keep a week or so in the fridge. Add dabs to soups, stews
and salad dressing, try it on veggies and not too spicy meats.

Seattleites can just buy Karam’s garlic sauce, available in finer
food stores

I gave you that recipe just so I could give you this one.

Easy peasy toxic garlic butter

With a fork, mash a cube (1/4 lb) of butter with a teaspoon (heaping,
if you’re so inclined) of aioli. Use a spatula to fold and mash until
well blended.

End Martin’s awesomeness.

I made this today with the last of the summer’s (mostly failed) garlic crop. It is hot, garlicky goodness, man. It’s fantastic.

With only a scant few garlic cloves on-hand (37 grams,) I made a half batch. Tonight, it’s going on burgers.

But here’s the secret: I hate mortaring and pestling anything. I’m no good at it. Now granted, I may be doing it wrong, and I suspect my porcelain mortal and pestle are too smooth to be very good at anything, but I hate it.

My nervous system is really susceptible to sharp noises, and this process is full of them.  Loud clinks and clanks of porcelain on porcelain.

In theory, mortaling and pestling is a green, rustic way of connecting with our food. It requires no electricity and some find the grinding motion soothing.

NOT ME.

Next time I make this, I’m going to use an immersion blender and a bigger batch. Having made homemade mayonnaise, I’m fairly certain it will work.

This likely makes me less of a foodie and more of a sloth, but I’m ok with that.

Now you know another of my dirty little secrets!

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