don't eat caviar because you're hungry. But the portion
set before us at a dinner the other night was capable
of staving off a serious quantity of pang.
We all eyed the presentation set before us perched
on the tiny bases of empty, over-turned, long stemmed
Riedel Burgundy wine glasses. This caviar "amuse"
course was done in the style of the legendary "beggars
purses" as created by Barry Wine, once chef and owner
of the Quilted Giraffe in Manhattan. Chef Wine used
to insist that his guests use no hands, (much
less forks or spoons when eating the purse). He
favored taking pictures of many of his guests donning
elegantly designed handcuffs he had at the restaurant,
leaning way over with their arms and hands pulled
behind them; taking it between their lips or teeth;
and then standing upright and eating the salty cargo
within the chive tied crepe. I did not wait for anyone
to insist otherwise and picked up my beggars purse
with one hand... bit half off enjoying it tremendously...
had a small gulp of the 1965 Krug... finished the
other half followed by some more of the Krug... The
evening was looking up. Did I mention that the purse
was filled with beluga caviar? There are three great
caviar. Beluga, Sevruga and Osetra. The determination
of which caviar it will be is done by several criteria.
at this level it is matter of personal taste. Malosol
in Russian is the term meaning "little salt" and fresh
caviar has very little. The presence of salt preserves
it but masks the flavors. Caviar should be served
as simply as possible. With caviar of this quality,
forget chopped eggs, capers, onions and the like.
World-class caviar is one of life's musts even if
only once in a great while. Handcuffs are optional.
Works consulted: A.J.McClane's, "encyclopedia of Fish
The first time I made an aïoli I was in Key West,
not sunny Provence. But the sun connected us through
the gypsy medium of garlic!
I was working at a little restaurant called "The Port
of Call". There in the port town of Key West I was
making my first wave of seafood soups. Bouillabaisse,
cotriade, bourride and the like. Bouillabaisse
called for aioli's cousin, rouille, but the bourride
and cotriade were compatible with aioli.
Marcel Boulestin once said, "It is not really an exaggeration
to say that peace and happiness begin, geographically,
where garlic is used in cooking." If a little garlic
make you happy aioli will have you on the way to delirious,
my friends. And speaking of friends, collect only
those who love garlic. Who needs the reproach of those
whose vapors are so dully uncharged by the magic of
aïoli is the conjoining of two words, ail meaning
"garlic" and oil. Egg yolks and a splash of lemon
juice complete this sauce.
With aïoli we enter a land that the writer John
Lanchester describes as one that evokes "a widening
of life's sensuous possibilities, the addition of
an extra few notes at either end of one's emotional
keyboard, a set of new stops on the church organ of
the psyche, an expansion of every cell of one's sensory
paraphernalia, a new rapprochement between body, mind,
and spirit; that land which is also an idea, a medium,
a metier, a program, an education, a philosophy, a
cuisine, a word: "Provence".
We cannot deny that Provence is the birthplace of
aioli. But it travels well, unlike some dishes it
might accompany it traditionally. So change tradition,
but bring on the aïoli and get in a garlicky