Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Roasted Corn Smothered in Aioli

Heat and humidity getting you down? Read on as Cara Valla, sous chef at San Franciso's Chiaroscurro tells you her favorite way to cope:

As we sweat through the searing heat of the August sun, let's enjoy the incredible flavors that this season so thoughtfully lends us. First things first: make friends with someone who has a grill. The grill is needed to roast your corn to perfection, and the friend is to keep you from feedbagging all this corn yourself. You will be tempted!

6 ears of corn
1/2 cup to 1 cup aioli, to taste (recipe below)
1 Tbsp paprika (or the smoked pepper powder of your choosing - espellette is also great)
1 cup cotija cheese, crumbled (This is a Mexican cheese that resembles dried feta in texture. If you
        can't find cotija, you can substitute parmesan or feta.)
2 limes, cut into wedges

Preheat your grill to medium high. Husk corn and place directly on grill. Turn the corn periodically to get a good, dark color, but don't let it burn! And BE CAREFUL - when the corn gets hot the kernals have a tendancy to pop!

While the corn is grilling, place aioli, paprika and cheese in a large bowl. When the corn is ready, toss in the bowl to coat. Serve with lime wedges, napkins and dental floss! You will never want to eat plain corn-on-the-cob again.

Aioli is basically a mayonnaise with garlic added, although I like it infinitely more than any mayo I have ever met. This recipe is simple enough but if you are in a time crunch, you can always spruce up regular mayo with fresh or roasted garlic and a little lemon juice. Also, if you are in love with aioli like I am, feel free to double this recipe - then you won't have to ration it over the corn so much.

2 garlic cloves
pinch of salt
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup oil (The flavor of the oil will really come through in an aioli, so use one with a mild flavor,
     such as extra virgin olive oil.)

Mince your garlic with the edge of a heavy knife, then add a litle salt and use the side of the blade to mush it up.

In food processor, add the lemon juice to the egg yolk, and then drizzle in oil, allowing it to emulsify and begin to resemble mayonnaise. (This can also be done by hand with a great deal of patience. Either way, if the mixture starts to separate, STOP adding oil, and continue stirring until it comes back together.)

Finish by adding in your minced garlic and salting to taste.