Ajada

Garlic & Lemon Bread Condiment, Monastir Style

 

I’m not giving any rigid proportions here, just guidelines to make enough for two people at one meal.

  • 2 slices fresh white bread (make it rustic, please), crusts removed
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • a generous pinch of salt, up to 1/2 teaspoon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • extra-virgin olive oil, preferably one with lots of flavor (I love Spanish hojiblanca)

DIRECTIONS

You can make this with a food processor, an immersion blender or, if you’re patient and strong, a mortar and pestle.

Tear the bread into small pieces and put them in the container.  Add the garlic, salt and lemon juice.  Turn on the blender/processor and add oil in a slow, steady stream – through the feed tube if you’re using a processor, of course.  Don’t go crazy; 2 or 3 tablespoons should do it to start with.  Blend until you’ve got as smooth a texture as you can coax out of the bread.  Adjust the salt & lemon to suit your taste.  If you want a looser consistency, turn your machine back on and add more oil a little at a time.  If you’ve added too much oil, add some more bread and, if needed, more garlic, salt and lemon. The beauty of ajada is that you can’t ruin it (it’s not mayonnaise); just keep adjusting until you achieve a balance that suits you.  That’s it.

If you can manage not to eat everything up in the preparation, serve ajada with fried fish (try fresh cod filet dipped in flour and egg), on red meats, roasted potatoes (yes, I repeat myself) or on  strong-flavored vegetables, for example artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, haricots verts.  Don’t limit yourself.  It’s great on fingers, too.

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