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California Green Garlic: Le Grand Aioli Recipe by Spencer Huey
California Green Garlic: Le Grand Aioli Recipe by Spencer Huey
This deliciously simple aioli recipe makes the most of fresh green garlic, and is paired with fresh in season vegetables. The recipe comes from Spencer Huey of Spencer Cooks, who is a cook at Chez Panisse when he isn’t sharing amazing recipes and how-to cooking videos online!
About this Le Grand Aioli recipe:
This dish originates from the south of France in Provence. In its essence, it’s a simple meal of cooked and raw vegetables with various proteins all to dip into a bowl of garlicky mayonnaise. It is a perfect way to highlight all this spring California produce. Le Grand Aioli is a fantastic meal to take on a picnic or to eat during the warmer summer days when you don’t want to heat up the house.
I love being able to stay connected with the seasons by supporting California farmers and visiting farmer’s markets.
During the spring, we get to celebrate garlic’s seasonality and cook with immature green garlic. Think of them like green onions but with garlic; they lend a more subtle and herbaceous flavor than head garlic. This aioli recipe highlights this specialty California crop.
Le Grand Aioli is a really fun way to celebrate California produce and the season. I fully recognize this version went all out so feel free to do less vegetables and go easy on yourself. It’s fun to mix up the vegetables with tomatoes, roasted eggplant, peppers and squash during the summer. Roasted parsnip, beets, and lettuces in the fall. Broccoli, cauliflower, chicories, cabbage in the winter. Shrimp, baked cod or other white fish would be great as well.
Ingredients for this garlic aioli recipe:
- egg yolk
- 3-4 green garlic stalks, (or 2-3 cloves of head garlic)
- extra virgin olive oil
What is aioli used for?
Serve Aioli as a spread, condiment or dipping sauce. It is often served as a dip for raw or cooked vegetables including artichokes. Aioli is also often served with seafood, including crab cakes or shrimp, and used a sandwich spread or a base for avocado toast.
Le Grand Aioli Recipe
for the aioli recipe:
- 1 egg yolk
- 3-4 green garlic stalks (or 2-3 cloves of head garlic)
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup California extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 1 bunch of carrots
- 1/2 lb snap peas
- 1 bunch red radishes
- 1 purple daikon
- 2-3 heads of Belgian endive
- 2 Persian cucumbers or 1 English cucumber
- 2 heads of fennel
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 lb Yukon gold potatoes
- 1/2 lb shrimp
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 3-4 bay leaves
- A few edible flowers nasturtium, mustard, borage
Make the aioli:
- Peel, chop, and pound the green garlic in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt until there are no visible pieces and it’s smooth and creamy. Alternatively, you can use 2-3 cloves of garlic and grate them on a microplane.
- In a bowl, vigorously whisk the egg yolk, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, lemon zest and salt. Using a rolled-up kitchen towel, create a nest and place your bowl in the hole to support the bowl and keep it tilted at an angle. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil at first drop by drop into the moving egg yolk mixture.
- As the emulsion forms, the oil can be drizzled in faster in a small stream. The aioli will start to thicken and become paler in color. If it’s too thick, thin out with water or lemon juice. Add the pounded garlic.
- Once all the oil is incorporated, taste it. It’s time to balance the sauce with salt, thin it out with lemon juice or water and add more garlic. The final aioli should be rich, slightly salty, tangy from the lemon and garlicky at the end.
- If the emulsion breaks (it becomes thin and the oil separates), start with a new clean bowl and a new egg yolk. While whisking, drizzle in the broken aioli to reform the emulsion and continue as before. No one will know the difference.
Prepping the vegetables & platter for serving:
- Bring a large pot of water up to boil.
- Snap the asparagus at its normal breaking point and then peel about 2/3 of it. Boil them in salted water until just tender, about 45-60 seconds. Remove with a spider to a tray to cool.
- Peel the carrots and cut them in 3-4 in lengths creating two rounds. Then depending on the size, cut those rounds into quarters or halves. You’re looking for a perfect dip-able carrot size. Blanch those in salted water for 2-3 min until tender but not crunchy. Remove and cool.
- Remove the stringy ends off the snap peas and blanch until tender about 1-2 min. Remove and cool.
- Boil the large eggs for 8 1/2 minutes until there is just a dot of jamminess in the center. Remove to an ice bath and then peel. Cut in half right before arranging.
- Peel and devein the shrimp. Cook them in simmering water with bay, thyme, and salt until just done – about 45-60 seconds depending on the size. Look for them to turn pink and start to curl (they’ll tighten up and form a full circle when overcooked).
- Start the potatoes in a cold pot of water with thyme, bay and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until they are done – about 15-20 min. Pull them out, let them cool and cut in half before arranging.
- Peel the daikon and slice into half-moons. Remove the outers from the fennel slice into wedges. Stripe the cucumbers and make cuts in a bias. Wash the radishes and just take off the wiry root end.
- Once everything is prepped, place the green garlic aioli in a bowl. Arrange all the vegetables, eggs, and shrimp on a large platter. Add a sprinkle of salt, squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil. Arrange the edible flowers. Eat, dip, repeat.
About Spencer Huey:
Spencer sees food as a fertile medium for creating community. He grew up watching Jacques Pepin and Julia Child on TV, fueling a lifelong love of food. In addition to running his successful Spencer Cooks YouTube channel, he works as a cook at the world famous Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA.
Try more of Spencer’s recipes:
This Spicy Garlicky Clams recipe from Spencer Huey makes the most of California grown garlic, and uses lemon, olive oil and wine to make an incredible sauce – plus garlic toast! Be sure to chill the rest of the white wine you cook with – you’ll want a glass (or two) with these amazing garlic clams.
Stone Fruit and Tomato Salad Two Ways
These salads are easy to put together, easy to adapt with what’s on hand, and the best way to enjoy summer on a plate.
Check out the video to get both salads: Tomato, peach and burrata salad with prosciutto and avocado AND summer nectarine, corn and tomato salad with hazelnuts!
Crispy Chicken Thighs with Meyer Lemon Salsa Verde
The chicken slowly renders resulting in golden brown, crunchy skin while the meat remains juicy, flavorful and well seasoned. Spencer’s chicken goes perfectly with the Italian herby sauce called salsa verde, with this version highlighting the zesty and prized Meyer lemon. Get the full recipe on YouTube