On a recent visit with my friend Tricia Robinson, who lives in the small village of St Jeannet, overlooking Nice and the Côte d’Azur, after a huge lunch, we weren’t that hungry for dinner, so we decided to just sip some rosé and wait for inspiration to strike. I was admiring her mortar and pestle, there was some violet-colored spring garlic, a bottle of local olive oil was nearby, and voilà…suddenly, there was our dinner.
Frugal me toasted some stale rounds of baguette au levain, which I brushed injudiciously with olive oil that was pressed just a few kilometers away, sold in her village, and scraped them with just-cut garlic cloves while still warm from the oven. (Try it…it’s the best! Or crumble and toss the garlic toasts into your next salad.) But having them simply slathered aïoli, we were content.
The great thing about aïoli is that you always have all the ingredients on hand; olive oil, garlic, egg yolks, and salt, and it pretty much goes with everything. The downside is you should only eat it with others who are eating it as well, since you’ll likely develop a distinct garlicky aroma that will also follow you around for a few days afterward.