Le Petit Aioli (6)

I picked the first Globe Artichokes from our allotment this week and that prompted me to prepare this Provencal dish from Ruth Watson’s ” The Really Helpful Cookbook”. The Globe Artichokes were served on a separate plate and dipped in the garlicky aioli along with the other vegetables. You can vary the vegetables but should include a combination of hot and cold. My vegetarian husband simply omitted the prawns.

Le Petit Aioli (6)
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Le Petit Aioli (6)
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  1. First make the aioli. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before you start. Put the crushed garlic cloves in a mortar, add a large pinch of coarse sea salt and pound with the pestle until the garlic is almost a puree. Add the egg yolks and bash until blended with the garlic. Tip into a bowl.
  2. Mix the two oils together in a jug. Dribble them very slowly into the bowl, pounding as you go. You can use a small whisk if preferred. As the aioli thickens you can increase the dribble to a thin stream, but always make sure the oil has been thoroughly incorporated before you add more.
  3. When the aioli stiffens up dramatically add a small squeeze of lemon juice and a touch of lukewarm water so you have a thick, glossy emulsion. Check seasoning and add more salt, lemon juice or water as needed.
  4. To prepare the artichokes first slice off the top third of the leaves and cut off the stems. Cook, uncovered, in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for about 30 minutes. To test if they are done scoop one out of the water with a slotted spoon. Pull at a bottom leaf and if it comes away cleanly they are ready. Remove the artichokes from the pan and leave to drain welll, upside down, then keep warm.
  5. In the meantime cook the potatoes, carrots and french beans. You can do them in the pan with the artichokes or a separate pan. starting with the potatoes, then the carrots, and finally the beans. You want them all the be ready at the same time- neither floppy nor crisp but tender.
  6. To assemble arrange all the ingredients on a large platter or individual plates with the aioli served in a bowl alongside. Everyone should help themselves, dipping into the aioli. You could serve some crusty baguette alongside. Put a bowl for the debris from the artichokes on the table too.
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