You know the old adage about “for want of a nail, etc.” Today’s post is all about the unintended consequences (mostly good ones) of the fact that Barbara ran out of mayonnaise in the house. She wanted to make a chicken salad sandwich but was unwilling to go to the store for another jar. (Stores with mayonnaise are all at least 15 miles round trip from our house.)
What do we do when that happens? We go to our cookbooks, and make our own, of course. She found a good recipe and did her usual, very effective job making 2 cups of homemade mayonnaise. I’m told it was good with the chicken and celery in her sandwich.
Now is where my brain kicks into gear. I want to make an Aioli sauce with that mayonnaise, and to use it with some vegetables I have in mind for dinner. Eggplant and beets are the two I’m thinking of, specifically. I researched Provençal and Catalan versions, and adjusted by using lightly cooked garlic to save Barbara from indigestion with the raw ingredient. To that I added some Maras pepper, and I had the flavor and texture I wanted.
Eggplant. Cut 1/2-inch slices, brush with olive oil, and roast in the oven at 375-400º F. Turn a few times to cook evenly. Top each slice with Aioli and broil briefly when it starts to color.
Sweet Red Peppers. Cut in half, remove stem and seeds. Bake in the oven with breadcrumbs, garlic and olive oil, plus a little vegetable stock — covered for 20 minutes, until tender. Remove cover and cook until crumbs start to brown.
Beets. Take one large beet, already steamed or roasted, and slice 1/2-inch thick. Brush with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill in a pan or over charcoal or gas, ensuring the sides caramelize a bit and have those lovely cross-hatch patterns in them, to show how meticulous you are. Top with a blob of Aioli.
Carrots, Celery, Leek. Cut them up, along with 1/4 of a sliced onion, and braise with olive oil and 1/4 cup of stock until tender. Place in a casserole, add fine bread crumbs and a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast until bread crumbs brown a bit.
Plate. Now use a large chop plate, find a spot for each vegetable, use more Aiolo if you wish, and serve with a bottle of Calabrian wine (in this case Lamezia DOC from Statti, a mix of Gaglioppo, Greco Nero, and Magliocco grapes) — or any red wine you choose.
I don’t think I will buy any more mayonnaise soon.