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The Hirshon Provençal Grand Aïoli

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 small or 4 medium beets (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 lb. green beans, topped and tailed
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into large florets (about 1 to 1 1/4 lb. trimmed weight)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lb. baby carrots, peeled
  • 1 to 1 1/2 lb. small new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 lbs. skinless, boneless Halibut, Cod or other mild white fish, cut into 8 4- oz. portions
  • 2 bunches of radishes, greens and roots trimmed
  • Niçoise olives
  • Cooked chickpeas
  • French Bread
  • Aïoli Sauce:
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 t. warm water
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c. extra virgin French olive oil
  • For the Fried Capers:
  • 23 tablespoons capers, rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • 1 cup olive oil


  1. Place the eggs in a small sauce pan and cover with cold water. Bring just to the boil, turn off the heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Refresh under cold water. Peel and halve or quarter.
  2. Trim the beet greens so only a half inch or so of the stems remain. Leave the root intact. Scrub the beets. Place in a baking dish and add a splash of water. Cover with foil and bake in a 375° to 400° oven until tender to the tip of a knife — 45 minutes to an hour. Allow the beets to cool. Trim and peel. Cut into halves or quarters.
  3. The remaining vegetables should be cooked in boiling salted water until just tender. Remove the vegetables from the water and spread on towels to cool.
  4. Typically the vegetables are served room temperature or while still slightly warm. The green beans will take 5 to 8 minutes, the cauliflower about 4 to 8 minutes, the carrots 12 to 20 minutes — depending on their size and age, and the new potatoes will take 15 to 20 minutes. If you like, halve the new potatoes when they are cool enough to handle.
  5. To prepare the fish, rub each filet lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Arrange in an oiled baking dish, add a splash of white wine or vermouth (TFD prefers vermouth) and cover tightly with foil.
  7. Transfer to a preheated 400° oven and bake until just cooked. This will probably be about 10 minutes. The rule of thumb is 10 minutes per inch of thickness of the filets…but it will be slightly longer if you have a very heavy/thick baking dish. Do not overcook…remember that the fish will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven.
  8. To Make The Aïoli Sauce:
  9. Smash the garlic to a purée with a few pinches of salt. Add half of the garlic to a medium-sized bowl, along with the yolks, warm water and remainder of the salt. Whisk until smooth. Then, very slowly, begin to add the oil in a fine stream, whisking constantly. If you add the oil too quickly, the mixture will not emulsify. As the emulsion begins to take hold, you will be able to add the oil a bit more quickly.
  10. The aïoli will gradually thicken and lighten in color as the oil is added. If it becomes very thick before all of the oil is incorporated, thin with a few drops of water and continue to whisk in the rest of the oil.
  11. Taste the aïoli for seasoning, add more salt and more garlic—as you please. The aïoli will taste best if it has 30 minutes or so to sit. It is best eaten the day it is made. Refrigerate any leftovers.
  12. To Make The Capers:
  13. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat the oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat (If you have a thermometer, the oil should reach approximately 375 degrees.). Carefully drip the capers into the hot oil. Fry for roughly 30 seconds, until crisp. Remove the capers using a slotted spoon and drop them onto the paper-towel lined plate.
  14. To serve:
  15. Arrange the fish, cooked vegetables and eggs on large platters. Place the olives, chickpeas and radishes in bowls. Place several bowls of the aïoli sauce on the table, garnish with the fried capers and pass a basket of bread.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours

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