Last night we took a Brooklyn Based excursion to Marlow and Sons to test out “Le Grand Aioli,” a Monday night special at the South Williamsburg restaurant we’ve been hearing about this summer. The whole aioli idea, which I first read about in Kim Severson’s New York Times article about shopping at the farmer’s market, cooking and subsequently dining with Alice Waters, is sort of a French summer dream of dinner. (A brief aside, I miss Severson’s articles in the dining section, with their warm, funny, but also direct and honest voice, real reporting and “thuglike squirrels.”) You blanch some vegetables, poach some beans, slice up some tomatoes, add some bits of fish, meat, herbs and grilled bread to a plate and then whip up a perfect aioli and then sort of just construct your own little olive-oily, vegetabley, meaty, fishy bites according to what you like best on the plate. It’s like, impossibly simple and elegant in an almost exasperating Gwyneth Paltrow kind of way.
It’s also delicious.
Last night our grand aioli ($32) came with blanched green beans, shrimp, grilled mackerel, fried corn, fried oysters and a grilled-scallion-walnut-herb salad. It being August in the the Northeast, I do wish there had been a tomato slice or two on the plate, and the salady bits wanted some bread to sit on. You could also very easily make this at home with all your own favorite bites–just make sure to take the time to make the aioli. The best recipe I know is in the Saltie cookbook–Caroline Fidanza, former chef at Marlow, is the best mayonnaise maker this side of the Atlantic. Or you could just see what’s on the plate next Monday–with a glass of rose to go with the whole thing is like summer on a table top.