Over the past few days I’ve been refreshing my favorite pro football news site at an alarming rate hoping to find some positive news telling me that the NFL lockout will be ending soon. With each new report that gets published I have to read about how the owners did this or the players aren’t doing that, which sends me on an emotional roller coaster.
The more I seek out news I go from not caring if they ever play again to wanting to drive to wherever these idiots are and shake some sense into them. This constant inner struggle sends me from angry and frustrated straight to hungry while I day dream about the future of the NFL. Which, of course, is a league where game day rosters are comprised entirely of Doug Flutie clones created to avoid any future labor disagreements. It’s epic.
And nothing goes better with a heaping pile of delusion like one of my big sangwiches.
Back in my college days my friends and I would hold an annual big sangwich competitions on Super Bowl Sunday. These were ridiculous, over the top creations that defied logic, as well as the weekly food budget of the average college student.
Leading up to this year’s Super Bowl my friends and I decided to make our big sangwich competition virtual and posted pictures of our masterpieces on my personal blogs so readers could vote on their favorite. My entry was the Packer Backer Speck-tacular because I was rooting for Green Bay (not because I’m a fan, I just despise the Steelers). It was comprised of speck (a type of smoked proscuitto), capicolla, fresh mozzarella, balsamic marinated tomatoes and arugula served on focaccia with a healthy schmear of my smokey pancetta aioli.
Originally I was planning on doing a pesto of some sort, but then I decided to play around with making an aioli instead. I started out with a basic mayonnaise recipe I learned from watching Good Eats, then I added some other elements to create a really flavorful aioli unlike I’ve ever had.
The first thing I did was swap out the dry mustard in the recipe with smoked Spanish paprika, then added finely diced and rendered pancetta, the zest of a lemon, minced shallots and garlic. Finally, I went with a mix of canola and extra virgin olive oil (based on this it is probably not entirely accurate to call it an aioli, but whatever).
Since the big game I’ve made this smokey pancetta aioli a few times and it never fails to satisfy. And, until the owners and players of the NFL decide to put their big boy pants on and get back to work, I’ll be sitting here eating a big sangwich waiting for the games to start, but it just won’t be the same.
Smokey Pancetta Aioli
- 1 egg yolk*
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 2 pinches sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Zest of a lemon
- 2 tablespoons finely diced and rendered pancetta
- 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots (macerated in lemon juice)
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- In a glass bowl whisk together egg yolk and dry ingredients.
- Combine lemon juice and vinegar in a separate bowl then thoroughly whisk half into the yolk mixture.
- Start whisking briskly, then start adding the oil a few drops at a time until the liquid seems to thicken and lighten a bit.
- Increase the flow of oil to a constant, yet thin stream.
- Once half of the oil is in add the rest of the lemon juice mixture.
- Continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated.
- Fold in the lemon zest, pancetta, parsley, shallots and garlic
- Leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, then refrigerate for up to 1 week.
* Warning raw eggs