Joining the grand aioli party
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Judging from my Facebook page, I am one of about 3 million cooks who celebrated Bastille Day with a grand aioli Saturday. I really hadn’t intended any kind of French patriotism with it -- we had good friends coming down from Mendocino and other friends joining us and the weather was nice and warm and I had a refrigerator full of rosé wine. And if that doesn’t spell aioli, I don’t know what does. The whole ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’ thing was just a plus.
Aioli is one of the great summer celebrations -- with or without a holiday. Make an intensely garlicky mayonnaise and serve it with whatever happens to look really good at the market that day. This being the peak of summer, we had plenty of options. From the Torrance farmers market, I got baby carrots, chard, cauliflower, fingerling potatoes, Romano beans and zucchini. At Mitsuwa, I picked up a big bag of shishito peppers and skewered tiny squid legs. At Trader Joe’s, I picked up fennel and artichokes.
I steamed the carrots, stems from the chard (saving the greens for tacos later this week), potatoes, fennel, artichokes and zucchini and boiled the Romano beans and cauliflower early in the day and arranged them on a platter. I grilled the shishitos and squid right before dinner.
And then we settled in for a long fraternal evening of dabbing the vegetables liberally with the garlicky mayonnaise and taking liberties with many bottles of pink wine. Maybe the French are on to something.
-- Russ Parsons