A lifetime ago, I spent a summer in Provence. I fell in love with the food, wine, people and culture. Provencal food is not known for being fancy. It is simple food but delicious in a way that only locally grown and prepared foods can be. My experience there influenced the way I approach food today. Sauce aioli is also known as the "butter of Provence". It is made from mixing ai "garlic" with oili, "oil". Aioli is wonderful served with cold meats and fish, but in Provence, the most famous way to serve it is called "Le Grand Aioli". This one-dish meal is a festive platter with poached codfish, mixed summer vegetables and hard boiled eggs. With the aioli served on the side, everyone serves themselves. Aioli is garlic mayonnaise. In Provence, it is all about the garlic, so there should be a lot. This recipe for aioli uses all olive oil, so use a mild -tasting high quality olive oil. Usually, green-tinted olive oils tend to be milder. Resist the temptation to throw the aioli ingredients into a blender or food processor. To achieve the best taste and the right consistency, you have to do it by hand. —Waverly
- Serves 4-6
large eggs, hard-boiled (boil for 10 minutes, cool under cold running water, and peel)
small waxy potatoes, boiled in salted water until fork-tender
1 1/2 pounds
baby carrots, trimmed, peeled, and boiled to crisp-tender in salted water
small artichokes, trimmed, top 1/3 cut off, boiled 15 minutes in salted water; cut into quarters, inner leaves and hairy chokes removed
French green beans, trimmed, boiled in salted water to crisp-tender and then placed in a cold water bath to stop cooking and retain color
cloves fresh garlic, peeled, germ removed
lemon, juiced, more to taste
1 - 1 1/2
cup extra virgin olive oil, a mild, fruity variety is preferable
- PREP THE COD AND BOIL THE EGGS AND VEGETABLES: The night before you plan to cook, sprinkle cod all over with sea salt. Wrap in plastic or foil and refrigerate. Prep the vegetables, cool, and cover to refrigerate.
- MAKE AIOLI: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic with a little sea salt to make a paste. Add the egg yolk continuing to pound, but also moving in circular motions. When the mixture is thickened, whisk in the olive oil in a very slow steady stream. Do the same with the lemon juice whisking until combined.
- COOK COD: Rinse cod under running water to remove salt. Place in a large skillet with enough simmering water just to cover the fish. Simmer until flakey, about 15 minutes. Remove fish and pat dry. Place on a platter.
- SERVE: Surround poached cod with cooked vegetables and hard-boiled eggs. Serve aioli separately in the mortar. Serve while cod is still warm.