Sunday, March 25, 2018

Le Grand (Saffron) Aïoli with Garlic Rosemary Shrimp, Veggie & Egg Platter

This week I put on my big girl apron and made aïoli for the first time. Chefs always claim this elevates a dish, but for some reason I've been too intimidated to try it.

Surprise, surprise. A food processor whipped all the ingredients into a familiar mayo consistency within minutes. The result was lighter and fresher tasting than anything store bought. Why did I wait so long?

That left how to cook the shrimp. The recipe in Food & Wine Magazine said to boil them in wine, and peel off the shells. The fishmongers at Whole Foods weren't too keen on that method, so instead, I sautéed them in olive oil, then added chopped garlic, rosemary, and a Thai chili, with a finishing sprinkling of salt. I left the shells on (optional), and again, the result was outstanding.

My taste tester called the platter “restaurant quality," but it did take more time than expected. You might want to make some of the ingredients a day ahead.

My Paleo Marin: 5 Persimmons

Edmond Fallot Dijon
Available at most markets
Photo Amazon

For the Aïoli:

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard,
preferably Edmond Fallot
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup olive oil
1 cup grape seed oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Piment d'Espelette
Photo Amazon, link here

1/2 teaspoon ground Piment d'Espelette (French red chili powder)

For the Platter:


1-1.5 pounds shell-on large shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
1 Thai pepper, split with seeds removed


4 quarts water
1/2 teaspoon of salt + 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound haricots verts beans
1-2 bunches asparagus, thick bottoms trimmed off

2 bunches breakfast radishes

1 fennel bulb


1 dozen eggs
Water to cover eggs

For the Platter:

2 lemons, cut into quarters
Sprinkling of Piment d'Espellete


For the Aïoli: (can be made a day ahead)

1. Put the lemon juice and saffron threads in a small bowl, stir, and let sit for 15 minutes.
2. With a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic and salt together to make a paste.
3. In a food processor, place lemon juice mixture, garlic paste, salt, Dijon, and egg yolks. Mix.
4. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle 1/3 of the grape seed oil, then 1/3 of the olive oil, followed by a splash of cold water until all the oil is mixed in. Mixture should resemble mayonnaise.
5. Spoon into a bowl and chill.
6. When ready to serve, place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with Piment d'Espelette.

For the Shrimp: (can be made a day ahead)

1. If peeling, remove the shell leaving the tail, and carefully slice down the back of the shrimp to remove the black vein. If leaving the shell on and you’d like to remove the vein, gently slice down the back of the shell and remove the black vein. Or, just sauté them intact.

2. Heat the olive oil in a (preferably) cast iron frying pan. Add shrimp just to cover the bottom of the pan. Sauté for about 2 minutes per side, until they turn pink. Remove to a plate. If peeling, remove the shells, leaving the tail. Repeat with the rest of the shrimp.

3. When all the shrimp are cooked and set aside, add the chopped garlic, rosemary and chili to the pan. Cook until the garlic just turns brown and the rosemary is aromatic, 1-2 minutes.

4. Add the shrimp back to the pan, and coat with the garlic, herbs and chili. Sprinkle with salt while hot so it sticks to the shrimp. Remove all to a plate, scraping the remnants off the bottom of the pan, too. Put in a covered container in the fridge if saving for later.

For the Vegetables: (can be made a day ahead)

1.  Bring the water to a boil and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Blanch the green beans for 2 minutes; taste test. Boil 1 more minute if not done enough. Remove the beans with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Refrigerate if not eating right away.

2. Bring the water to a boil again, and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Boil the asparagus for 2 minutes, taste test. Boil 1 more minute if done done enough. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Refrigerate if not eating right away.

3. Soak the radishes in water. Repeat until the water is clear. Drain. If not using right away, store in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.

4. Slice the fennel bulb into bite-sized slivers. Set aside, or refrigerate in a covered bowl.

For the Eggs: (can be made a day ahead; mine tasted better the first day)

1. Fill a dutch oven with about 4" of cold water. Carefully place eggs in the pan. Bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot and let sit 11 minutes for small/medium eggs; 12 minutes for medium/large eggs.

2. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and put in a bowl with cold water for about 5 minutes. If serving later, put eggs in a bowl in fridge. If serving right away, peel the eggs and cut in half.

For the Platter:

1. Place the aïoli in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with Piment d'Espelette.
2. Arrange the vegetables, shrimp and eggs around the platter. Sprinkle the eggs with Piment d'Espelette.
3. Place the lemon wedges near the shrimp.

Enjoy all your hard work!

#paleo #aïoli #saffron #shrimp #asparagus #maindish #appetizer #healthyeats #breakfastradishes #pimente'espelette #foodandwine #wholefoodsblithedale #wholefoods

Aïoli and platter recipe adapted from Food & Wine "Le Grand (Saffron) Aïoli" recipe here.
Shrimp adapted from food52 "Shell-on Shrimp with Rosemary, Garlic and Chile" recipe here.

My Paleo Marin Rating 1-5 Persimmons
I try out these recipes so you don't have to (and modify them for Paleo where possible). The rating will reflect my opinion of the final result in terms of taste, ease of preparation, nutrition, and sometimes, cost.

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