Cooking From Memory ~ A Recipe Journal

Late-Summer Vegetables with Aioli

Sunset Summer Bounty

Ingredients ~

  • ½ pound green beans, yellow wax beans, or both
  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 3 small summer squash, such as zucchini, sliced diagonally 1/2 in. thick
  • About 1 ¼ cups mild extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt
  • 10 to 12 thyme sprigs, divided
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • About ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons Champagne vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small head frisée (pale inner leaves only)
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, stems trimmed and bulb cut into thin wedges
  • About 1 cup mixed cherry tomatoes, large ones halved

Method ~

Preheat oven to 450°. Blanch beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, plunge into a bowl of ice and water, then drain again and pat dry on a kitchen towel.

Toss potatoes and squash separately with 2 Tablespoons oil each, some sea salt, and about two-thirds of thyme sprigs. Roast separately in a single layer on rimmed baking sheets until just tender, 7 to 10 minutes for zucchini and 20 to 25 for potatoes.

Prepare the aioli:

In a bowl, whisk egg with a pinch of fine sea salt and the vinegar until thick. Whisk in remaining 1 cup oil gradually, drop by drop for the first ¼ cup or so (until the mixture is emulsified) and then in a thin stream until aioli is nice and thick; you may not need all the oil.

Alternatively, whirl egg, salt, and vinegar in a blender, then drizzle in oil.

Sprinkle garlic with ½ teaspoon fine sea salt. Mince with a chef’s knife, and then use side of blade to crush garlic into a paste. Stir garlic paste into mayonnaise. Taste and add more salt or vinegar if you like.

Arrange cooked and raw vegetables on a large platter or long board, top with remaining thyme sprigs, and serve with aioli.

“This salad is the little sister of the Provençal dish called a grand aioli,” says Amaryll Schwertner, chef-owner of Boulette’s Larder in San Francisco. She omits the seafood of the grand version and focuses instead on “the colors, flavors, and textures of summer produce.” To make a half-batch of aioli (a deliciously garlicky mayonnaise), whisk it by hand and use 1 egg yolk rather than half of a whole egg.With thanks to Amaryll Schwertner, Boulette’s Larder, San Francisco, Sunset

August 2013

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