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  • Writer's pictureNonnas Kitchen Chair

Garlicky Aioli for a Summer Salad

My family would argue that Aioli is an Italian invention and my French friends will convince you that it is definitely French. If we “Google it,” we find that the first apparent mention of it was by Pliny the Elder (12-79 A.D.) the Roman Procurator in a city in northeastern Spain! No matter. It’s creamy and garlicky and delicious!

Here we have a great, crispy cool salad, most of which can be prepared ahead of time and kept chilled until the party is ready to begin! I hope you enjoy it!


1 pound small yellow potatoes

Kosher salt

1 pound small green beans, trimmed

3 large eggs

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined (keep the tails on)

¾ lb. fresh salmon

3-4 cloves garlic

4 large egg yolks

3 T fresh lemon juice

1 t Dijon mustard

2 C olive oil

3 romaine hearts and other mixed lettuces, as you like

2 C radishes

1 English cucumber sliced (or 4 Persian cucumbers)

2 C cherry tomatoes

Black pepper

Place potatoes in medium pot with salted water to cover by at least 1 inch. Boil until tender (about 12 minutes or so). Transfer to ice water, drain, dry with paper towels and chill. Reserve ice water.

Bring more salted water to boil and cook green beans until tender (2-3 minutes). Remove with slotted spoon to ice water until cold. Drain, pat dry and chill.

Using a slotted spoon slowly submerge eggs into boiling water and cook for 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove to ice water until cold. Peel, cover, and chill.

You may cook the shrimp in boiling water for just two or three minutes. Immediately remove to ice water to stop cooking or they will become tough. Poach the salmon in a little water for just a few minutes until fork tender. All seafood should be wrapped and chilled until ready to assemble the salad.

To make the aioli, pulse the garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt and pepper and process to combine. With the motor running, add olive oil and process until combined. If the sauce is too thick, add water, 1 Tablespoon at a time. Taste for salt and lemon.

Transfer the aioli to a serving dish on a platter and surround with all the ingredients.

I sometimes, I thin some of the aioli for use as a dressing so that it can be poured over the greens instead of just used a dip. For this, you can thin the aioli in a blender. Place some of it in first with a tablespoon of water and turn on the blender. With the blades turning, add more olive oil through the opening in the lid until it’s the consistency of dressing. Taste for lemon and salt before serving.

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