I like it when food is fun, when one plate containing an array of flavors can either work harmoniously in one bite or randomly paired, yielding countless flavorful bites.
This month, instead of one recipe, I share multiple small recipes that combined can make a plate or separated can contribute flavors to multiple dishes on your menu.
Saffron pickled cauliflower and apricot salad
1 head cauliflower (cut into small florets)
1 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
1 pinch saffron threads
1/4 cup salt
1 small bunch fresh oregano, tied
1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced thin
Combine all ingredients in a small pot with tight fitting lid and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat (with lid still on) and set aside for 45 minutes.
Drain liquid and discard oregano.
Refrigerate until needed.
Cilantro garlic oil
1 bunch cilantro
1 Tbsp sweet chili
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2/3 cup canola oil
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process on high for 1 minute.
Pour straight into a sieve atop a bowl to catch the oil.
Let strain 10 minutes.
Discard ingredients left in the sieve and refrigerate the oil in a squeeze bottle in the fridge.
Pull from fridge 2 minutes before plating.
Note: This oil can be served as a dipping sauce if you skip the sieving step. It pairs great with Indian-inspired flavors (such as samosas) or even spring rolls.
Whipped watermelon gelee:
1/2 small watermelon, blended and strained to yield 2 cups liquid (an extra ripe melon is preferred)
1 sleeve gelatin
1/3 cup jarred jalapeño liquid, chilled
1 tsp kosher salt
In a small bowl, pour the jalapeño liquid in, then sprinkle the gelatin over it and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
While the gelatin blooms, pour the watermelon liquid and salt into a food processor.
Add the gelatin to the watermelon mixture and process on high for 30 seconds.
Check seasoning and then pour liquid into a Pyrex dish, cover and place in fridge until set, this should take at least an hour.
A few minutes before plating, pull the gelatin out of the fridge and transfer to a mixing bowl, whisk gently but quickly for 30 seconds.
2 lbs chorizo sausage, cut in 1/2-inch slices
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
1 lg egg yolk
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
In a heavy-bottomed pan set on med-high heat, place the cut chorizo sausage and cook for about 20 minutes, rendering as much fat as you can from the sausage.
Pour the fat into a measuring cup. You need ¼ cup. Either cook more sausage or top off with olive oil. (Use the cooked chorizo in another meal for guests or crew. It should be very crispy so use it to garnish a salad or serve with an hors d’oeuvres.)
Allow the oil to cool to room temperature, and add the vegetable oil.
In a food processor, combine all other ingredients and process on high for 20 seconds. Slow the blades and slowly drizzle the oil mixture in.
Continue until the mixture has emulsified and takes on a mayonnaise-like appearance. Should the aioli begin to split, stop drizzling in the oil. Process/whisk the mixture for a minute, then resume adding the oil.
Cover aioli and refrigerate until needed.
Mark Godbeer, a culinary-trained chef from South Africa, has been professionally cooking for more than 11 years, 9 of which have been on yachts (chefmarkgodbeer.com). Comments on this recipe are welcome at email@example.com.