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Grand Aioli

Grand Aioli

Let this recipe be the excuse you need to dip all your farm-fresh foods into garlicky mayonnaise.


  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 lb. vegetables (such as blanched long beans, wax beans, and/or sugar snap peas; sliced cucumbers; cherry tomatoes; radishes; and/or boiled fingerling potatoes)
  • 1½ lb. protein (such as sliced ham, cooked shrimp, and/or boiled eggs)

Recipe Preparation

  • Combine egg yolks, mustard, garlic, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl set on top of a kitchen towel laid across a small heavy pot (this setup will anchor the bowl while you whisk so you have a free hand for pouring). Whisking constantly, add oil to egg mixture, starting with just a few drops and gradually increasing amount to a fine steady stream. Stop adding if there is any unincorporated oil in the bowl; going slow is key. Keep whisking until emulsified, then whisk in lemon juice. Taste and season aioli with more salt if needed. Serve with vegetables and proteins of choice.

Reviews SectionPretty good but I thought there was a bit too much oil for the amount of lemon juice in here? Maybe I did something wrong but I followed instructions to a tee. After tasting I added some red wine vinegar to balance it out and another clove of garlic for some extra flavor.AnonymousIndianapolis, IN09/20/19Time for you to get with the stick blender method for making mayo/aioli/aioli! No more faffing about with oil drips and elbow grease!

Recipe Summary

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cold water

Mince garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add egg yolks, a pinch of salt, and mustard process to combine. With machine running, slowly pour in about half the canola oil through the feed tube, a few drops at a time. Stop to make sure the sauce is thickening, and scrape sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add 4 teaspoons lemon juice. Resume processing slowly pour in remaining canola oil and the olive oil. Season with salt and remaining lemon juice, and add the water process 10 seconds more. If serving immediately, transfer to serving bowls.

Le Grand Aioli

Aioli is a delicious staple of Mediterranean cuisine and personifies the flavors and cooking style of the South of France. It has a heady taste of garlic that makes it a delicious dip or sauce for crunchy crudités or poached seafood.


4 large cloves garlic, peeled

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Cut the cloves of garlic in half lengthwise and remove the germ. Bring six halves of the garlic to a boil in cold water, then discard the water and repeat once more, cooking the garlic until tender the second time. Fill a small saucepot with a few inches of water, the white vinegar and a pinch of salt crack the whole egg into a cup.

Bring water to a simmer and slide in the whole egg. Poach for two minutes (the white will solidify but the yolk will remain runny). Transfer the poached egg into a blender or food processor and add the cooked and raw garlic, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, water, and salt. Purée until well combined.

While the machine is still running, add the olive oil and then canola oil in slow steady streams. The sauce should emulsify, with a thick, pale consistency similar to mayonnaise. Taste for seasoning and then transfer into a bowl and serve with your preferred accompaniments.

Grand Aioli, Provence’s Ultimate Vegetable and Fish Platter

I recently reread Robert Carrier’s ‘Feasts of Provence’, and was reminded of Le Grand Aïoli, a Provencal dish I don’t make often enough. In it, he states “If bouillabaisse vies with bourride and its lesser-known cousin le revesset along the southern coast from Sète to Menton, aïoli is the undisputed star of the arrière-pays, the herb-scented backlands that separate the famed ports of the Riviera from the austere mountain villages behind.” The arrière-pays, or hinterlands, are where farms reign supreme so it is not a total surprise that a primarily vegetable dish with salt cod and snails is king.


Quite simply, aïoli (a.k.a. le beurre de Provence) is an uber garlicky sauce similar in consistency to mayonnaise, usually made with a per-person ratio of 1 egg yolk, 4 fat garlic cloves, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. As Carrier explains, ‘an unctuous mayonnaise sauce plentifully endowed with the magic fire of pounded fresh garlic.”

Le Grand Aïoli, on the other hand, is a meal which celebrates all that is good about Provence. The dish is traditionally served warm I would say hot but there are so many components to a good Grand Aïoli that it is next to impossible to get them on the platter at the same time.

Le Grand Aioli

Watch Chef Michael walk you through this weeks En Voyage take-out menu, inspired by the classic French dish Le Grand Aioli.

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Le Grand Aioli

Cook baby potatoes in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender (about 10 minutes). Add carrots to the pot in the last 2 minutes of cooking, then add asparagus or beans and snow peas for the last minute. Drain, refresh under cold water and drain again. Cut larger potatoes in half.

While the potatoes are cooking, place fennel in a bowl of cold water with ice cubes to crisp up.

Blend mayonnaise with garlic, tarragon, if using, and lemon juice. Season to taste and transfer to a small bowl.

Drain fennel and arrange on a platter with all other veges, garlic mayo, Green Goddess Hummus and tarragon garnish, if using, for people to help themselves.

Make a meal of it

Add halved hardboiled eggs and/or a chunk of hot smoked salmon or other smoked fish.

Through the seasons

Change the veges to suit the season. Capsicum slices and halved cherry tomatoes also work well in summer.

Fresh Herb Aïoli with Spring Vegetables | Le Grand Aïoli

Young spring vegetables are so fresh and tender right now they hardly need a thing to accompany them well, except perhaps for a dab of green herb aïoli.

Light, bright and very spring-like aïoli is the perfect counterpart to a platter of seasonal vegetables like asparagus, radishes and carrots. The versatile Provencal sauce is a nice starting place for a casual meal with friends complete with glasses of crisp rosé wine. Think of it as your secret to easy spring and summer entertaining.

Also known as the “butter of Provence” aïoli is a rich and creamy sauce made from garlic and olive oil emulsified with egg yolks that just begs to be paired with the best that spring and summer produce has to offer.

In fact a feast called “le grand aïoli” often composed of steamed fish and vegetables is a traditional choice for celebratory meals in the south of France. It’s my favorite kind of meal, the kind that’s served family style, that requires using your hands and encourages sharing.

I like to serve the bold sauce on a large platter surrounded with an array of vegetables and hard boiled eggs instead of fish for a brunch or lunch accompanied with a few bottles of rosé within close reach. All that’s required is a little bit of prep and some hungry guests!

Le Grand Aioli Seafood and Vegetable Crudités Platter with Grilled Scallions

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!


Aïoli is a symbol of Provençal cuisine, where it's smeared on everything from bread to seafood to vegetables. Much like the old-fashioned way of making butter in a churn, the best way to make aïoli is with a mortar and pestle.

3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice, if needed

First, dust off your mortar and pestle. Next, prepare to tune everything else out and be in the moment.

Add garlic cloves and salt to the mortar and start to smash them with the pestle. As the garlic flattens, continue to pound, grinding the mortar around inside the pestle until a sticky paste begins to form.

Add an egg yolk to the garlic and stir the mixture vigorously until it becomes emulsified.

Slowly begin to add a couple of drops of olive oil while you quickly stir to combine. Continue to add the oil, little by little, ensuring that it is completely combined into the egg and garlic before adding more. The mixture will start to thicken as you go. Continue this process thoughtfully until you have added all of the oil. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

There’s always the chance that while you are making your aïoli, it might break. That means it turns into a curdled looking oily mess. If it should break, don’t panic. Pour it into another bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the mortar, then add a teaspoon of the aïoli. Mix, mix, mix, then mix some more. Slowly add the remainder of the aïoli and think positive thoughts for a creamy, garlicky sauce.

Aïoli on the Side
A traditional preparation with aïoli is a platter referred to as "le grand aïoli". There are no set components to the platter, but it generally contains a variety of boiled vegetables, some poached fish and a few hardboiled eggs. This Thread & Whisk version includes hardboiled eggs, albacore tuna and an assortment of roasted spring vegetables tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper.

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  1. In a large nonreactive sauce pot, combine the court bouillon ingredients. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Place a strainer over another large pot or bowl and pour the bouillon through, pressing lightly on the vegetables to extract their flavor. Discard the solids. Use the broth immediately, or refrigerate up to 2 days (or freeze up to 1 month).
  2. To cook the shellfish: Bring the court bouillon to a rolling boil over high heat. Place the shrimp in a slotted pasta basket and plunge them into the boiling court bouillon for 2 minutes, or until the shells are bright and feel firm to the touch. Transfer the shrimp to a large rimmed baking sheet to cool.
  3. Bring the court bouillon back to a full boil and add the lobster. Once the water returns to a boil (about 1 minute), cook the lobster for 8½ to 9 minutes longer, until the shell turns bright red. Transfer to the baking sheet with the shrimp to cool.
  4. Add 4 cups of cold water to the bouillon and bring it back to a full boil again. Add the crab, bring the broth back to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes longer. Transfer to the baking sheet with the shrimp and lobster and let cool completely, about 10 minutes. Discard the used court bouillon.
  5. Once the crab is cool enough to handle, clean it and rinse it under cool running water. Cool slightly, then cut the crab in half and cut the legs and body into 8 pieces, lightly cracking them at the joints.

— From “The Foreign Cinema Cookbook” by Gayle Pirie and John Clark, published by Abrams Books ©2018

Watch the video: Grand aïoli FR