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Watch Party

Le Grand Aioli & Crudité

Written by Caroline SchiffPhotos by Andrew Bezek

EDITOR'S NOTE: What's better than watching a riveting drama with great food and drink, right? Here are some scrumptious recipes crafted by Chef Caroline Schiff for your next French binge watch!

Le Grand Aioli & Crudité Recipe

Notes from the Chef:

Aioli is delicious, silky, garlicky French mayo that we should all be putting on everything, all the time. It’s not just a condiment. It’s the main event; so much so, that there’s an entire family style dish named after it, that’s eaten all over France in casual, leisurely gatherings. Everything can be made ahead of time for this abundant platter, and it’s completely customizable. Swap in any veggies you love, add some cheeses or meats if that floats your boat; poached or marinated seafood is always welcome as well. Sometimes baguette is featured alongside, so go to town creating the platter of your dreams. This is kind of the main course that will keep guests going as they drink, and you can replenish throughout the evening. Aside from the aioli, consider this recipe just a suggestion. Fill your Grand Aioli platter with just about anything.

french party crudite 7 1027x1540

Serves up to 10 people
Active time: 1 hour

Makes about 3 cups
Active time: 15 minutes
Printer friendly version

2 egg yolks
2 tbs dijon mustard
2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
Juice of ½ lemon
2 cup canola oil
Pinch of salt

Process: Aioli

  1. Using a whisk, incorporate the oil, about 2 teaspoons at a time, whisking constantly and vigorously to emulsify. Do not add the oil too quickly or the mixture will break, and you’ll have to start over. Only add more oil when the last addition is fully incorporated.
  1. Keep adding oil and whisking until everything has been incorporated. At this point add the salt and lemon juice to taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed, and transfer to a container to store in the fridge while you prepare the other components. Fresh mayo like this will keep for about 4 days in the fridge, so feel free to make it ahead.

For the Platter
You’ll want roughly 4 lbs combined of food for this platter; you won’t put it all out at once, but have it prepped so you can replenish and refresh as the evening goes on. A few suggestions:

  • Blanched fingerling potatoes
  • Fresh cherry tomatoes
  • Blanched multi-color carrots
  • Blanched large asparagus
  • Sturdy leaves such as radicchio, endive or little gem lettuce cut into wedges
  • Poached, chilled shrimp
  • Breakfast radishes
  • Assorted charcuterie
  • 1 dozen hardboiled eggs, peeled and sliced lengthwise

Tips on Blanching Vegetables

Blanching vegetables takes the rawness out of them, gives them a little tenderness, holds their bright color and adds flavor thanks to very salty water. I like to blanch in the largest pot I have, giving the vegetables plenty of room to circulate in lots of water. I go HEAVY on the salt. In general, eyeball about 1 cup of kosher salt to 1 gallon of water. Of course, you can adjust to your tastes a bit, but no need to be shy. This gives the plain veggies tons of flavor.

The secret to preserving the color and texture of your blanched veggies is the ice bath. This cold shock is key to lock it all in. I keep the largest bowl I have next to the stove filled with lots of ice and cold water. As the veggies come out of the boiling water, they get plunged immediately into this ice bath to cool.

Blanching time varies depending on the vegetable and it’s size. Things like asparagus and thin carrots take only two minutes or so, whereas small potatoes will take about 15 to 20 minutes. Use a fork to test for doneness as they boil.

Only blanch one type of vegetable at a time, but feel free to use the same pot of boiling water for the whole process. Make sure the water is always at a rolling boil before adding the next round. Have tongs and a slotted spoon on hand to remove the veggies as they’re done and get them right into the ice bath.

Once cooled, I like to arrange everything by variety on a paper towel lined sheet pan. It makes the assembly and replenishing of the grand aioli easy and fun.

To assemble, just get creative! There are no rules here. I usually put out about 1 cup of the aioli at a time, surrounded by the abundant array of things to dip, and just replenish as needed to keep it fresh.

Pair this recipe with:

Chefs tells the story of Romain, a young ex-con assigned to the kitchen of a gourmet Parisian restaurant as part of his probation. Romain is played by bilingual French actor Hugo Becker, whom American audiences may recognize from the hugely popular TV series Gossip Girl. Chef, played by Clovis Cornillac (A Very Long Engagement), recognizes Romain’s natural affinity for cooking and takes him under his wing. So begins Romain’s awakening: to the art of food, to love, and ultimately, to finding his place in the world.

Why you should watch: Chefs was named the French TV drama of the year at the 2015 Luchon Film Festival.

French Watch Party Recipes

About the Chef
Caroline Schiff is a chef based in Brooklyn, NY with a decade of experience in restaurants and bakeries. In May 2018 she launched her culinary consulting firm ParadigmSchiff, offering recipe and product development, menu consultations, concept development and corporate events. In winter 2019 Caroline will take on the role of Pastry Chef at the re-opening of Gage & Tollner, the legendary Brooklyn restaurant. She has been featured on Vice: Munchies, Food Network’s Beat Bobby FlayGenius Kitchen,, Hulu’s Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi and stars in the documentary series, Her Name Is Chef. Follow Caroline here: @pastryschiff.