Summer Wines and a taste of Provence with Le Grand Aioli.
We all need things to take our mind off the present at the moment and with the summer being presaged by a warm spring and with memories of past years’ adventures in our consciousness it seemed like a good idea to plan for warmer times with dishes like Le Grand Aioli that are best consumed al-fresco – preferably in Provence!
Just as the Spanish do, I love to start a meal with a glass of sherry. Tio Pepe Fino is the world’s best-selling Fino sherry and is made in Jerez in southern Spain, one of three towns in Andalucia’s famous “Sherry Triangle”. Made from the Palomino grape and best served straight from the fridge, Tio Pepe is perfect as an aperitif or to accompany a whole meal. The wine is pale in colour and very dry with an inherent savoury, salty tang that is great with snacks or tapas or just for social drinking with some almonds and olives. Try it with seafood tapas, salads with vinaigrette, fish, sushi, sashimi, Jamon, mild cheeses and smoked fish.
We have two summery white wines for review today, a Malborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and a French blend of Marsanne, Roussane, and Viognier from the Languedoc in the south of France, the latter wine being paired with our featured recipe for Le Grand Aioli, the Provencal garlic mayonnaise feast.
Jackson Estate Stich 2019 is a classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, with crisp acidity and bursting with grapefruit, passion fruit and melon flavours. It’s a top-rated and beautifully balanced wine that is a perfect match for fresh seafood, grilled fish or East Asian dishes and it makes for great summer drinking.
Our food match wine is Domaine Sainte Rose Le Marin Blanc, Marsanne Roussane 2017, a straw-coloured white with a herby nose, tropical fruit notes. and a deliciously long finish. From the Languedoc in the south of France Le Marin Blanc is actually a blend of three wines; Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier, and with a hint of vanilla and oak it’s a big enough wine to stand up to the primary garlic flavour of our Grand Aioli.
A delicious and stunning centrepiece dish of fish, vegetables and aioli (garlic mayonnaise)
- * 1 pound new potatoes Jersey Royals if in season
- * Maldon salt
- * 1 pound French beans trimmed
- * 1 pound carrots peeled and cut into sticks
- * 1 head of celery trimmed and cut into sticks
- * 12 langoustines
- * 1 cucumber trimmed and cut into sticks
- * 1 bunch radishes halved
- *2 heads of chicory quartered lengthways
- * 3 garlic cloves
- * 4 large egg yolks
- * Juice of 2 lemons
- * 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- * 1 cup vegetable oil
- * 1 cup olive oil
Blitz the garlic in a food processor then add egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard and salt and blend together.
Set the food processor to a slow speed and add the vegetable oil a few drops at a time. Then add the olive oil in the same manner and process until it emulsifies.
Taste and season. Place in a bowl.
Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a little salt, bring to a boil, and cook until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
Place the chicory and celery in a large ceramic ovenproof dish. Soak in olive oil then roast for 30 minutes at 200ºC/gas 6 until caramelised.
Boil salted water in another medium saucepan. Add green beans and carrots and blanch for 3 minutes. Transfer beans and carrots to a bowl of iced water for 3 minutes then remove the vegetables and dry them off in a clean tea-towel.
In the same pan bring the water back to a boil and add the langoustines for 3 minutes until they turn pink. Transfer to a bowl of iced water for 3 minutes then remove and dry them off in a tea-towel.
Place langoustines and potatoes in their own serving bowls. Arrange the other vegetables on a large platter with the bowl of aioli in the middle.
Provencal dish, le Grand Aioli - a delicious summery platter of fish, vegetables and garlic mayonnaise
Apart from the ingredients for the Aioli, you can mix and match in your own choice of vegetables and fish. Traditionally Le Grand Aioli would have been made with salt cod for example. And, there’s nothing wrong with adding in seasonal vegetables to taste. You can make up the Aioli in advance and keep it in the fridge for a few days too.
Le Grand Aioli is a fabulous centrepiece for a summer lunch. Let’s hope the weather stays fine this year so we can enjoy alfresco wining and dining!
Tio Pepe Fino NV RRP £10 | Stockists: All major supermarkets
Domaine Sainte Rose Le Marin Blanc RRP £9.99 | Stockists: Waitrose Cellar – https://www.waitrosecellar.com/domaine-sainte-rose–le-marin-blanc-724506
Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanc RRP £12.99 | Stockists: Waitrose & Ocado. https://www.waitrosecellar.com/jackson-stich-sauvignon-blanc