Making Aioli and Meeting Daniel Boulud

Nicole and Daniel Boulud

Chef Daniel Boulud has just released his newest cookbook, Daniel: My French Cuisine and he is currently traveling around the country to visit different stores and attend different events to promote it. He made a stop in Los Angeles yesterday and I was able to attend a great cooking demo and get my copy of the book signed!

Book signings and cooking demonstrations, although they’re not regular occurrences, are great ways to interact with chefs in person. Local cooking schools, bookstores and even supermarkets are usually where these sorts of events are hosted – this one was held at an LA area Whole Foods and it can be well worth subscribing to their mailing lists because you never know what you might miss. This event was quite small, with just about 20 people, and featured a cooking demo by Chef Boulud in addition to a book signing.

Daniel shows off his book

Chef Boulud kicked off the event with an introduction to his book (stay tuned for a later post about the book itself) before jumping into the demo. He featured a very California dish that was easy enough to make at home: Grand Aioli with California Seafood and Produce. The dish is something that would be perfect for entertaining, since it was a highly share-able platter of lightly cooked fresh shellfish – clams, mussels and shrimp – served with fresh vegetables and an extremely addictive aioli sauce.

Cooking with Wine

Daniel teaches us about ingredients

For me, the sauce was the star, since you could serve it with anything and it would be a hit. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good-looking pictures of the sample plates that we got to taste. But I do have a printout of the recipe and since I am already planning to make it again at home, I’m sharing the sauce recipe here for future reference. It has the unusual (to me, at least) technique of using a slightly poached egg in the recipe. It also calls for uncooked egg yolks, so if you are uncomfortable using raw egg yolks, look for in-shell pasteurized eggs at your local grocery store.

Daniel makes aioli

Daniel Boulud’s Grand Aioli
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 large egg
4 large egg yolks
1 tbsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp water
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups grapeseed or canola oil
ground espelette or cayenne pepper, to taste

Cut garlic cloves in quarters. Place half of the garlic (8 quarters) in a small saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil. Drain water, refill with cold water and repeat, this time cooking until garlic is tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
Fill another small sauce pan with a few inches of water and add vinegar. Bring to a simmer and crack the whole egg into the hot water. Poach for 2 minutes (yolk should be extremely runny and whites should be set), then remove with a slotted spoon.
Combine cooked garlic, raw garlic, poached egg, egg yolks, dijon mustard, water and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Keep the blender on low speed and gradually stream in the olive oil and grapeseed/canola oli until the sauce emulsifies and takes on a thick, pale consistency that is similar to mayonnaise. Season with a pinch of espelette or cayenne pepper, to taste.
Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Serves 8.

One comment

  1. Made from scratch Aioli is the BEST!!!! My dad makes it all the time, and it’s scrumptious with lobster especially! Aw! It reminds me of when we used to cook Lobster on NYE – we would always make the aioli and then have crusty French bread too! :)

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