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Feed Your People

Big-Batch, Big-Hearted Cooking and Recipes to Gather Around

by Leslie Jonath with 18 Reasons

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Ingredients (14)

For the aioli:

  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3 cups extra-virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil, or a mixture of the two (see Notes)
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salmon:

  • extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • 1 3 1/2 to 4 pound fillet of skin-on salmon, pin bones removed
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper

For the vegetables:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds (16 to 24) small beets, red, gold, or a mixture, tops trimmed so only 1/2 inch of the stems remains attached
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds (12 to 15) small boiling potatoes, such as Yellow Finn, White Rose, or Yukon Gold
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds (16 to 24) small carrots, scrubbed and peeled (or use larger carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths), tops trimmed to 1/2 inch
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 8 to 10 hard-cooked large eggs, peeled and cut in half

The “Feed Your People” cookbook is full of meals perfect for big, happy groups, and this French-inspired feast contributed by Georgeanne Brennan is a great example. She’s owned a house in Provence for years, where every summer, the entire town hosts a grand aioli, a celebration that ends with a feast featuring the area’s famous garlic aioli in huge quantities. It’s served with simply prepared steamed vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and salt cod, and is a party comprised of hundreds of people. This smaller-scale version stars a roasted side of salmon (a nod to the author’s home base near the Pacific in California), but otherwise keeps to tradition—there’s also an abundance of fresh beets, green beans, and new potatoes, and a great bowl of luscious aioli to dip everything in. Add some fresh bread and plenty of rosé and you have a crowd-pleasing meal perfect for eating outside when the weather is fine, a true celebration of summer, seafood, and good company.

Variations: You can use whatever vegetables are in season and look best, including cherry tomatoes, radishes, sugar snap peas, artichokes, sliced raw fennel, or blanched cauliflower.

Notes: Aioli calls for only a few ingredients and can “break” (or separate, rather than emulsify into a smooth substance) if not whipped properly. The key to getting it to set up is patience, and good arm strength. If your mayonnaise breaks, you may be adding the oil too quickly. Make sure to drip it into the egg yolks slowly, in a steady series of drips more than an actual pour—and feel free to call on a friend to help; one person can whip while the other drips. After all, it is a communal meal. However, if you’re pressed for time, you can make it in a food processor (see the recipe for instructions). Either way, combining olive oil with grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil) makes for a lighter-flavored aioli; if you have a very strongly flavored olive oil, you may want to replace up to half or more of the total amount called for with a neutral oil to lighten the taste.

Make Ahead: Georgeanne makes this simple meal the day of serving so everything retains its freshness, but the vegetables can be prepped a day in advance and then cooked the day of the party. The vegetables and salmon should be cooked no more than 1 hour in advance of serving. Cover them to keep them moist and bright looking. The aioli can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 4 hours. If you need guidance on boiling eggs, check out our Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs recipe.

Serving: A grand aioli is best when served on a long table with the food down the middle in multiple mismatched bowls and platters. Allow one bowl of aioli and a platter of vegetables for every four or five guests. French bread and glasses of rosé round out the meal.

If you’re looking for something a little more suited to a weeknight dinner, try our Slow Cooker Poached Salmon, our Salmon and Asparagus Kebabs, or browse our other easy salmon recipes.

Instructions

To make the aioli:
  1. 1
    Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and salt together to form a paste. (Alternatively, using a knife, chop the garlic, then finely mince the garlic together with the salt to a paste.)
  2. 2
    Have the oil ready in a liquid measuring cup. In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Set the bowl on a damp dish towel to provide traction and to hold the bowl in place. Whisking constantly, begin drizzling in the oil, drop by drop at first, until the mixture begins to thicken and emulsify. Once the emulsion is stable, continue to whisk constantly, and increase the speed slightly, pouring the oil in a slow, steady, fine stream. When all of the oil has been added, gently stir in the garlic mixture. If the aioli is too thick, whisk in a tablespoon or two of warm water. Season with the pepper, then cover and refrigerate until serving (up to 4 hours), whisking again vigorously just before serving.
  3. 3
    If you want to make the aioli in a food processor, put the egg yolks in the processor and pulse just until blended, then with the machine running, add the oil, drop by drop. Once the aioli thickens and emulsifies, increase the pouring speed to a thin, slow, steady stream. When all the oil has been incorporated, add the garlic mixture and pulse til combined. Season with the pepper, transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate up to 4 hours, whisking again vigorously just before serving.

To cook the salmon:

  1. 1
    Position racks in the bottom third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 200°F. Put a baking pan of warm water on the bottom rack; this will help keep the salmon moist.
  2. 2
    Brush a half sheet pan with oil. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the oiled pan. Brush the flesh with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the fish feels slightly firm to the touch and the tip of a small, sharp knife easily flakes the flesh, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
  3. 3
    Remove the salmon from the oven and let cool slightly, then transfer to a platter. If making ahead, cover with plastic wrap or foil and hold for up to 1 hour.

To cook the vegetables while the salmon bakes:

  1. 1
    Put the beets in a large saucepan, add salted water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until beets are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 50 minutes. Drain the beets, set aside to cool until they can be handled, then slip off the skins. (Remember that red beets will stain any food and some work surfaces they touch, so wear gloves if you like and protect your countertops.) Cut the beets into wedges or halves and set aside.
  2. 2
    Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, add salted water to cover generously, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon (leaving the pot of water on the stove), transfer the potatoes to a colander and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Cut the larger potatoes into halves or quarters.
  3. 3
    Line a large plate or half sheet pan with paper towels. Add the carrots to the potato cooking water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the carrots are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 8 to 10 minutes Using the slotted spoon (again leaving the pot of water on the stove), transfer the carrots to the towel-lined plate.
  4. 4
    Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set near the stove. Line a second large plate or sheet pan with paper towels. If the water level in the saucepan has dropped, add more water, then return the water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the green beans in the colander, then transfer to the ice bath and let stand until cold. Drain the beans and transfer to the towel-lined plate.
  5. 5
    Arrange the beets, potatoes, carrots, green beans, and hard boiled eggs on platters. Serve the salmon and vegetables with the aioli alongside.

Excerpted from Feed Your People: Big-Batch, Big-Hearted Cooking and Recipes to Gather Around. Copyright © 2018 by Leslie Jonath, recipe by Georgeanne Brennan. Reprinted with permission by powerHouse Books. Photography by Molly DeCoudreaux.

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