Enhance your warm weather foods with cilantro aioli


Linda Conway Eriksson - Contributing Columnist



My children always bring or send “happy” things for me to enjoy on Mother’s Day and beyond. This was a banner year for herbs. Some I will grow and use over the summer; others are part of good stuff to eat and enjoy right away.

Jenny, who lives the closest, started things off when she stopped by at mid-morning with a big pot planted with basil, tarragon and parsley, three of my favorites.

Before the day was over, Daniel gave me another pot, signed by himself, Heather and Jenny, to fill with another tarragon plant in full bloom. (Tarragon blooms profusely with small, bright yellow flowers.)

Ingrid and her family followed up with a wonderful Mother’s Day card, signed by everyone, complete with notes from all of them, all the way from New Hampshire.

The same evening, when Heather and her family stopped by to wish me a happy Mother’s Day, they brought a lovely hanging wave petunia, plus something I’d never seen or tasted before. It was “herby” also — three pints of cilantro aioli mixed with shrimp, scallops, lobster and crab meat. Yum!

Am I blessed, or what? I received love from all directions, plus herbs that will remind me that I’m thought of and cared about every time I pick a few leaves to flavor the meals we eat.

Herbs really add a lot of flavor to so many dishes — even though I have my favorites, I never tire of experimenting with the different subtle tastes. I’m really taken with cilantro. Thus, Heather’s combination of flavors in the food she brought for me have started my thought processes going in the direction of aioli.

Aioli has a base of fat, acid and herbs, with garlic and salt added to taste. The ingredients in homemade mayonnaise or a good ready-made mayo to save time, fresh lemon juice or flavored vinegar, and herbs make a “killer” aioli. Once you have the base, it keeps well refrigerated and finds many different uses.

Heather uses aioli primarily in the summer for all sorts of different things. I’ve already used this recipe for a tossed spinach salad. I look forward to brushing it on grilled beef and chicken. Heather tells me it’s wonderful drizzled on pulled pork. I can also imagine it as a dip for raw veggies. This will be in our fridge all summer, just waiting for naked foods to come along and be enhanced by its fresh, bright flavor.

CILANTRO AIOLI

1 bunch cilantro

1 cup more or less mayonnaise

Juice of 1 fat lime

1 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until pureed or, as Heather says, “until it gives up.”

Makes about a cup and a half.

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Linda Conway Eriksson

Contributing Columnist

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at lindaconwayeriksson@gmail.com.

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at lindaconwayeriksson@gmail.com.