The Grand Aioli

Taken from "Trésors de la cuisine Provençal" by Robert Monetti

Pour 10 personnes


 For the aioli:

- 2 egg yolks

- 20 cloves of garlic

- 1 pinch of salt

- ¼ litre olive oil

 To serve with the aioli:

- 1.2kg salt cod

- 500g string beans

- 10 carrots

- 10 potatoes

- 500g beets

- 10 eggs

- 1 small cauliflower

- 1kg mussels (you can also add, or replace ingredients with, snails, whiting, sweet potato, broccoli, celery)

- 1 bay leaf

- 4 stalks of fennel


The day before, leave the cod in a basin of cold water to desalt it. Clean the mussels. 

The next day, sort and wash the beans, scrape the carrots, leave the potatoes unpeeled and boil in a pot of salted water. Hard boil the eggs. Poach the cod with the bay leaf and the fennel. Blanch the cauliflower. Cut the beets into quarters. Peel the garlic and grind finely in the mortar with a pinch of salt.

Separate the eggs, lightly stir the yolks and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Put the yolks in the mortar with the garlic.  Little by little pouring in the oil (olive oil at first, after you can use a lighter vegetable oil if desired), stir with the pestle or an eggbeater, always in the same direction. The mixture should thicken to the consistency of mayonnaise. Proceed carefully; too quickly and the mixture remains liquidy.

If so, no panic. Empty the mortar and wash in hot water, crush a bit more garlic, add another egg yolk, a few drops of oil and start again, alternating oil with a spoonful at a time of the spoiled version. 

You will have succeeded when the pestle or egg beater remains in the aioli.  

And then you can proudly call everyone to the table! 

Serve the vegetables, the fish, the mussels and the hard-boiled eggs on platters with the aioli in the center.

A nice chilled rosé is an excellent accompaniment for the grand aioli. As aioli is a heavy dish, it is preferably to serve it at lunch, leaving the afternoon for it to digest... with the help of a digestive and a game of boules! 

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