Have you ever been to a new restaurant’s friends and family night? I hadn’t until last year, when I got the opportunity to order an entire grand aioli seafood and vegetable crudités platter for two people.
I say, opportunity. Because it didn’t actually happen.
Had I understood the nature of these trial runs—mainly, the free part—I would have swung for the fences, ordering not only an appetizer platter that could feed 6, but oysters, beef tartar, and crudo, followed by 4 mains.
This is what the couple next to us did, and what Charlie and I realized halfway through our shared salad, was obviously the superior plan (doggy-bags-for-days!).
Instead, I was so distraught at myself for having missed a dish that was entirely composed around homemade mayonnaise, that I returned to the restaurant and paid $125 for the privilege of trying the grand aioli.
Note to self: the next time you have a chance to take a New York City restaurant to town, do it. Because otherwise it will be taking you next.
Needless to say, in my many dreams of this grand aioli, I also thought about how fabulous it would be as a big appetizer at a summer cookout. Robust. Delicious. On the house.
Last month when I was paging through Bon Appetit, I came across a recipe for their interpretation of a Grand Aioli, and for the first time realized that this wasn’t something unique to the restaurant, but, in fact, a thing.
For those who are also hearing this for the first time: Le Grand Aioli is often a meal in and of itself. The summery answer to fondue that requires no heat, no gadgets. Just clean hands and the willingness to dunk them in raw egg yolks.
For mayophobes, the grand aioli is also the dinner equivalent of a trip to Guantanamo. So I recommend for entertaining purposes that you offer it solely as a hardy buffet appetizer.
To make my aioli a little extra, I used charred scallions fresh off the grill. Though I’m back on high FODMAP foods for the most part, I’m still taking it a little easy with garlic in my kitchen. The scallions allowed me to get away with less and still have that lovely punch.
Read on for how to make a grand aioli crudités platter with some of the best vegetables and seafood of the summer season.
I’m going to be taking my mayo-y hands to Martha’s Vineyard next week, so you might not see me in these virtual parts as regularly. Have an amazing holiday and I look forward to hearing about all the things you dip in your aioli when I return!
With health and hedonism,
Grand Aioli Crudités Platter with Grilled Scallion Sauce
For the platter:
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 pound baby potatoes
- 1/2 pound peeled deveined shrimp
- 1 bunch radishes thoroughly washed
- 1/2 bunch asparagus
- 2 heads endive quartered
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 5 ounces cured ham optional
- Prepare the cooked components of your crudites platter: Place the eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, simmer for 3 minutes, and drain. Allow to cook until room temperature in the shells. Meanwhile, replace the water in the saucepan and add the shrimp. Bring to a simmer (along with a splash of lemon juice) and cook until pink and curled, about 2 minutes, depending on the size. Drain and immediately rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Finally, add the baby potatoes to the saucepan and cover by 1 inch with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, rinse with cool water, and cut in half.
- Meanwhile, grill the scallions: heat an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill until smoking. Brush the scallions with olive oil and grill until charred on both sides, 2 minutes on each. Set aside to cool completely.
- Last, make the aioli: In a small mixing bowl or bowl of a food processor, whisk or pulse the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, and garlic until smooth. Working slowly, add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and whisk or pulse until incorporated. Repeat with 3 additional teaspoons. Once the oil is emulsifying easily, slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil, followed by the coconut oil, whisking or pulsing throughout until thick. Add the salt and cooked scallions. Puree until smooth and adjust seasoning as necessary.