This month it is “l’Aïoli”! June 01 2019, 0 Comments

This month, with Calisson by Gilles, we will discover l’Aïoli! A joyful meal and a unique dish that great either in winter in front of a fireplace or under an arbor in a hot summer day. Provençal, friendly and pleasant, l’Aïoli is easy to prepare, to serve and to personalize. Ideal for unexpected meals and friendly moments around a table! Thanks to Calisson by Gilles l’Aïoli won’t have any more secrets for you! 


Aïoli , what is it ? 

Let’s explain what the word Aïoli means. If you split the word Aïoli in French-Provençal, you will get “Ail” – “Oli”

“Ail” for garlic and “Oli” for oil which literally means a kind of garlic mayonnaise. And this is it, the Aïoli mayonnaise is a mix of garlic and olive oil. Loudly pronounced “eye – oh – Lee”, you will feel the Provence when their inhabitants are loudly saying that they are preparing an Aïoli for lunch! 

Aïoli is the name for the mayonnaise and also the entire meal. The whole meal includes the sauces and all seasonal food you can find in the weekly markets in Provençal villages. The “Aïoli garni” , the whole version  comes with boiled vegetables such as carrot, green bean, cabbage, potato and eggs, cod (or Pollock) and even escargot. 

You can find other version of Aïoli all over the Mediterranean sea; from Arabic regions which is called “toum” to the Spanish Catalan “Allioli” , the side differs. Hence you could get roasted chicken in other regions while you will get Cod or Pollock in the Provence area.

Like all traditional recipes, several versions exist according to local traditions. Most generally you can taste some Aïoli sauces north shores areas starting from Spain up to the French Languedoc & Provence region, French Riviera and Italy. The Provençal Aïoli is the most famous and eponymous. It has made of the “Aïoli garni”, the traditional dish of cod and boiled vegetables.

As a Provençal inhabitant since my childhood I consider the Aïoli dish can be served all year long. Some considers that the Aïoli shall be excluded from our plate during the warm season. The meal is indeed heavy in carbs that can make it hard to digest during the hot summer of South of France.  Nothing that a nice rose wine from Provence can't cure! The same is true for late dinner where this heavy carb and garlicky menu can make our night a challenging one. That is why we cook the Aïoli for lunch and usually on Friday. Depending of the time of the year, you can make some adjustments to your recipe to make it more enjoyable for summer or winter seasons. 

 

Calisson by Gilles will now detail for you the original recipe of this delightful dish: l’aïoli garni!

 

Recipe:

The recipe below is sized for 6 adults. The list of ingredient is very simple. You will need the following ones to make your Aïoli sauce:

  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz) olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Half a lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

The Aïoli sauce can be compared to the mayonnaise. This is an emulsion that has to be created with these ingredients. In the traditional version, according to the Aïoli etymology, the sauce is only made of garlic and olive oil. You have to be very experimented to get a good emulsion with only these two ingredients. If the traditional sauce does not contain eggs, the difficulty of getting an emulsion with only oil and garlic has led most chefs and cooks to add an egg yolk, so to get an easier emulsion without altering the original taste of the Aïoli. 

 Steps are:

  • Remove the seeds
  • Peel the garlic 
  • Squeeze the lemon
  • Using a garlic press, crush the garlic cloves in half. If you do not have a garlic press, crush the garlic with the flat of a knife to spend less efforts with the pestle.
  • Use the pestle to puree the garlic as thin as possible
  • Add the egg yolk in the garlic mixture
  • Mix with a whisk
  • Gradually and slowly add the oil while stirring vigorously with the whisk
  • Continue to add the oil gradually while mixing, until the mixture is hard enough.
  • Add the lemon juice at the final step
  • Serve with hard-boiled eggs, vegetables, such as carrots, green beans and potatoes. And for sure with fish such as cod. 

Your aioli should have the consistency of thick mayonnaise. If the mixture is flat, start again and use a fresh egg yolk. Add very very slowly the egg yolk in your 'failed' mixture. The new yolk should re-emulsify your aïoli.

You have now your Aïoli sauce ready to be served. Calisson by Gilles suggest you resist the temptation to use a blender for the emulsion. The motion will be too fast to obtain a hard and consistent mixture. So much better to make a handmade Aïoli sauce!

For some people, a good aïoli sauce should be smooth and very dense. Other people say it should be the same consistency as mayonnaise. You can guess that the doses and proportions will be in accordance to the chef who make the sauce. For a newbie, who is not accustomed to strong garlic flavor, half a clove to a clove of garlic per person will be sufficient.

Where to eat a traditional Aïoli ? 

Calisson by Gilles has selected two places to eat a traditional Aïoli in Provence:

La Sousta (11 Rue du Pré, 06400 Cannes): 

The restaurant exclusively serves an artisanal Aïoli on Friday for Lunch. Excellent!  

L'Hippocampe Vieux Port Marseille (151 Plage de l’Estaque, 13016 Marseille): 

For connoisseurs in love of a strong and tasty Aïoli, picturesque and traditional, the restaurant is an iconic institution. 

 

After an Aïoli garni which leaves a strong garlic taste in your mouth Calisson by Gilles advises you to get a sweet and tender finish with our Mediterranean Calisson collection. Definitely unique!

PS: If you want to know what the above picture is all about, stay tuned with Calisson by Gilles posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during June!

 

 

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.