French Salad Recipes: Aïoli (Garlic mayonnaise)
A colourful selection of raw vegetables, or crudités, is often served in France as a quick and easy accompaniment to drinks or as small starters before lunch, especially in warm weather. The term crudités is used both for small pieces of vegetables served with a tasty dip and for a selection of vegetable salads presented in separate dishes. Country-style restaurants often feature a selection of crudités and sometimes a whole trolley of individual vegetables salads in small raviers, or shallow dishes, arrives. At a family lunch, at least two or three salads would be served. Their appeal lies in the use of fresh uncomplicated ingredients and a selection which offers visual and textural contrasts. By choosing contrasting colours, any combination of vegetables, raw or lightly cooked, attractively arranged on a platter or in baskets and served with a tangy dip, such as aïoli or tapenade, can make a beautiful presentation. Allow 85—120g/3—4oz of each vegetable per person. Remember, leftovers can be used in soups or a stir-fry. Add fruits, cold meats or seafood and a pretty herb or flower garnish – anything goes as long as you like it. Put 4 crushed garlic cloves (or more or less to taste) in a small bowl with a pinch of salt and crush with the back of a spoon. Add 2 egg yolks and beat for 30 seconds with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 250ml/8fl oz/1 cup extra virgin olive oil, by drops, until the mixture thickens. As it begins to thicken, the oil can be added in a thin stream until the mixture is thick. Thin the sauce with a little lemon juice and season to taste. Chill for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature and stir before serving.