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Aioli Gets the 'A-OK'

July 9, 2009 By:
Louise Fiszer, Jewish Exponent Feature
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BEYOND CHICKEN SOUP

We have a number of friends who are die-hard "Francophiles." They spend every vacation in France, and usually come home with all things French -- wines, chocolates, porcelain and wonderful recipes.

Recently, we were invited to a home where such French-lovers hosted an unusually tasty Shabbat luncheon featuring vegetables, fish and a garlicky mayonnaise-like dip called "aioli." In France, this sumptuous spread is know as "Le Grand Aioli," and is generally served to commemorate Bastille Day every July 14.

This traditional festivity is perfect as a summer meal right in our own backyards. It can be shared with just a few, or all your nearest and dearest. It is perfect for Shabbat outdoor entertaining, as it's mostly a dip-and-drip affair, and can be cooked and assembled the day before.

The aioli -- a Provençal, garlic-infused mayonnaise -- is surrounded by platters of fresh vegetables, cooked until tender or crunchy-raw; fish, poached and served at room temperature; or cooked chicken, hard-boiled eggs and fresh country breads.

The food itself makes a picture-perfect centerpiece with all of the colors of summer. I've taken liberties with the traditional aioli, and created a spicy horseradish-and-caper version that couples well with fish. Another innovation, a bright red-pepper aioli, is perfect with poultry.

Bon appetit!

Traditional Aioli
(Pareve)

1 whole egg
3 egg yolks
11/2 cups good olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1-4 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice

In a food processor, beat whole egg until pale yellow. While the machine is on, drop in the egg yolks, one at a time. Process until smooth and creamy.

With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until the mixture resembles a thin mayonnaise.

Drop in the garlic, salt and pepper, and continue to drizzle oil in until mixture becomes very thick. Add the lemon juice.

Place in an attractive serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Serve surrounded by cooked and raw vegetables, and hard-boiled egg slices.

Serves 10.

Note: If you have concerns over using raw eggs, substitute 11/2 cups of store-bought mayonnaise for the eggs and olive oil.

Red-Pepper Aioli
(Pareve)

1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
11/2 cups good olive oil
1/2 cup red-pepper purée (recipe below)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

In a food processor, combine the whole egg, egg yolks, lemon juice and garlic until creamy. While the machine is running, drizzle in about half the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.

Add the pepper purée and continue to drizzle in the remaining oil until mixture is thick. Add salt and pepper.

Place in an attractive serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with cooked chicken or fish.

Serves 10.

Red-Pepper Purée

1 red pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

In a food processor, purée all of the ingredients.

Taste for salt and pepper.

Makes about 1/2 cup.

Horseradish Aioli
(Pareve)

1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. mustard
11/2 cups olive oil
3 Tbsps. freshly grated horseradish or prepared horse radish
2 Tbsps. capers, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper

In a food processor, process the whole egg, yolks and mustard until creamy

While the machine is running, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture is thick.

Remove to serving bowl, and stir in the horseradish and capers until well-combined.

Taste for salt and pepper.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with cooked fish.

Serves 10.

Blanched Vegetables
(Pareve)

1 lb. asparagus, trimmed
1 lb. green beans, trimmed
1/2 lb. young slender carrots, peeled

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Add the vegetables and allow the water to return to a boil.

Cook for 2 minutes and drain under cold running water.

Blot dry and arrange as part of traditional aioli platter.

Steamed Vegetables
(Pareve)

20 tiny red potatoes
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

Arrange the potatoes in a vegetable steamer.

Cover and steam for about 12 minutes, or until tender when pierced with tip of knife.

Remove potatoes to cool, and fill steamer with broccoli and cauliflower. Cover and steam for 5 minutes. Let cool.

Arrange as part of traditional aioli vegetable platter.

Fish
(Pareve)

Poach a 16 oz. salmon fillet and 16 oz. halibut fillet.

Let cool and cut into 2-inch pieces.

Serve fish as part of horseradish aioli platter.

Louise Fiszer is a California cooking teacher and food writer. E-mail her at: loufiszer@aol.com.

 

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