20 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
pinch white pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
2 1/8 cups extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
note: True French sauce aioli, a garlicky mayonnaise, is made by hand because the aggressive action of a blender or even a whisk compromises the delicate flavor of the extra-virgin olive oil.
Place the garlic cloves and salt in a large mortar and, using a pestle, work to a paste. Separate the eggs, discarding whites. Add the yolks to the mortar one at a time, stirring rapidly with the pestle (yes, the pestle). Add the white pepper and cayenne. Then add the oil slowly, stirring vigorously, until the mixture begins to thicken and emulsify. (Adding the oil too fast will cause the sauce to break.) Stop to add lemon juice periodically while incorporating the oil. The finished sauce will be yellow, coarse because of the garlic, and a bit thinner than regular mayonnaise.
1 bunch celery, cut in serving-size pieces, blanched in salted water for 1 to 2 minutes; or serve raw
1 bunch baby carrots, peeled and blanched in salted water for 1 to 2 minutes; or serve raw
1 bunch asparagus, steamed until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes depending on size; or serve raw
1 cauliflower, separated into florets and blanched in salted water for 2 minutes; or serve raw
8 or more cherry or plum tomatoes, blanched in salted water for 30 seconds, then peeled; or serve raw
1 fennel bulb, blanched in salted water for 2 minutes, then sliced
8 baby artichokes, trimmed and simmered in salted water with the juice of 2 lemons until tender (base should give when lightly pressed)
1/2 pound haricots verts (French green beans), blanched in salted water for 2 minutes; or serve raw
6 eggs, hard-cooked for 10 minutes, peeled, and sliced
8 to 12 new potatoes, boiled in salted water until tender, then cut in quarters (peeled or not, as you prefer)
8 to 12 baby beets, blanched in salted water for 2 minutes, then sliced or quartered (peeled or not, as you prefer).
Chill crudites before serving. To serve, place sauce aioli in a small dish in the center of a large platter and arrange chilled vegetables around it.