This summery composed salad from Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer's Canal House Cooks Every Day is my favorite kind of summer finger food. I can cook an array of colorful produce (and indispensable hard boiled eggs) whenever the kitchen is coolest and stick it in the fridge until dinner time. Once hunger strikes, all I need to do is whip up a sunny lemon juice-infused aioli, which isn't as hard as it sounds. This recipe makes plenty of aioli for dipping, drizzling, and smearing over dinner, with some leftover for sandwiches the next day.
Why I picked this recipe: I don't think I need a reason to eat vegetables dipped in souped-up mayonnaise for dinner.
What worked: Everything was perfectly in tune here.
What didn't: No problems at all.
Suggested tweaks: You can pick and choose any assortment of summer vegetables. I used little yellow fingerlings, baby golden beets, and long and slender green beans. Tomatoes would be an obvious inclusion, as would steamed baby squash. If you're not up for making aioli from scratch, you can mix garlic and lemon juice into store-bought mayo, but know that it won't be quite as good. If you have a hand/immersion blender, you can also give our foolproof two-minute mayo a shot.
Reprinted with permission from Canal House Cooks Every Day by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer Copyright 2012. Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:Serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:20 minutes, plus 1 hour for preparing vegetables
- Lemony Aioli
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup good smooth “buttery” olive oil
- 4–6 peeled roasted baby beets, quartered
- 8–10 ounces cooked string beans
- 4–8 small peeled boiled potatoes
- 4–6 hard-boiled eggs, halved
- Really good extra-virgin olive oil
- Plenty of finely chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
For the lemony aioli: Whisk together the egg yolks, garlic, a pinch of salt, and one-quarter of the lemon juice in a medium bowl. Combine both the oils in a measuring cup with a spout.
Whisking constantly, add the oil to the yolks, about 1 teaspoon at a time. The sauce will thicken and emulsify. After you’ve added about 1/4 cup of the oil, you can begin to slowly drizzle in the remaining oil as you continue to whisk, until you have a thick, glossy aioli. Season with salt. Thin the aioli with a little water and more lemon juice to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the salad: Arrange the beets, string beans, potatoes, and hard-boiled eggs on a nice big serving platter. Drizzle everything with some olive oil and sprinkle with the parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with some nasturtium blossoms, if you like. Serve with the aioli.