Friday, August 9, 2013

Color: Guajillo and Tequila Aioli


A recurring and important theme in cooking, the visual is the initial draw to the plate or dish. Let's face it, something like bourbon pulled BBQ pork with fried onion straws might be delicious, but burgundy color with some brown crispies on it just doesn't bring the color game to where it needs to be. Now, take some chives, maybe some chipotle ranch dressing, do some decorating, and take the color up a couple notches.

So in this series of posts, I will be providing a recipe (which of course will be fantastic), but the main concentration will be on the color of the finished product. We are going for vivid, vibrant bright colors, that might not be the main course, but the accent will provide that amazing visual flair you will need to make your food pop that much more.
Just begging to be dipped in.

With this fantastically colorful aioli, we take the fairly mild dry guajillo pepper, rehydrate it in a sugar and salt brine, and then blend it with pan seared garlic and tangy mayo. What results is a bright orange spread you can pretty much use on anything, but is especially great with sandwiches or wraps for the summer.

What's even better, is that this recipe is extremely easy and simple to make. Should only take about 3 minutes once the peppers are rehydrated, all it takes is a nice hand blender. Another awesome thing is that if you don't like tequila, there is a pretty sudsy substitute you can put in.

1 T. minced garlic
1 t. vegetable oil
2 t. ground cumin
1 T. Sugar
1 t. kosher salt
3/4 c. hot water
1 large dried Guajillo pepper, cut into 3 or 4 pieces.
2 T. Tequila
3/4 c. mayonaisse of choice


  1. Take the minced garlic and vegetable oil, and put them into a small saucepan, and put on medium-low heat. Cook for about 1 minute, until the aroma releases from the garlic. 
  2. Add the cumin and cook with the garlic, for another 2 minutes. Add everything else except the tequila and mayo. Stir, and turn the heat up to medium, bring to a rapid simmer. 
  3. Let the liquid in the pan reduce until about 3/4 reduced. Remove from the heat and cool in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Pull the stem off of the top of the pepper. 
  4. Remove, from the fridge, and pour into a tall cup, or a tall blending cup. Add in the tequila, and mayo, and using a hand blender, blend until smooth, and there are no large chunks of pepper. 
  5. Now, the challenge. For the flavors to really develop, don't touch the mayo. Put it in the fridge and let the flavors  blend and meld together. It will be an entirely different flavor experience. Spread and enjoy!
  6. Optional tequila-less recipe: instead of tequila and water, use a beachy style beer, like corona, or landshark. just use about 1/2 of the beer (6 fl. oz.) and that will be equivalent to 3/4 cup. 
Who doesn't love orange mayo?

That's it. Color. Flavor. Simplicity. And variety. This recipe isn't so one sided that you couldn't use it on just a plain old turkey sammich, but it would be a great dipping sauce for grilled vegetables as well. The liquid that you use thins it out a bit, so it's a spread/mayo/aioli, etc. very very versatile for all of your colorful culinary creations. Keep an eye out for future color-themed posts! Happy cooking!