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Jul 13, 2008 09:49 AM

Last Minute Advice Needed, Starter for a Grand Aioli

Going to a Grand Aioli this evening, (big feast of roasted veggies, grilled lamb, chicken and tons of garlicky mayo to lather atop all...tons of ice cold Rose as well.) and have been given the bookend tasks, doing a cheese course for the end of the meal but having a hard time thinking of a appetizer. Any suggestions? Others are bringing white beans, fruit and simple breads, orzo salad with lemon dressing.....
Going to pull out a bunch of French cookbooks but if anyone can think of anything I would love the advice.
Thanks all.

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  1. Something with puff a spanokipita or possibly goat cheese, garlic, and chive stuffed into tiny puff pastry cups...possibly little tiny savory quiches ( I know, a bit retro) but people still like them!

    1. That's so much food! How about just a generous selection of olives. Since someone is bringing orzo salad, you'd be safe to venture into Greek olives as well as French. Maybe some spiced nuts.

      5 Replies
      1. re: nemo

        I know it is a lavish feast to say the least! I was thinking about finger foods like roasted black olives with citrus rind and fresh herbs...little snacks, you know to get ourselves ready to eat! I was also thinking of marinated chickpeas ot thick cut potato chips with a smear of either goat or triple cream cheese, a bit of tomato jam then sprinkled with bacon and chives...maybe just make enough for one or two per guest. Sound tasty?

        1. re: bubbles4me

          Of course, it sounds tasty! But aren't potatoes part of an aioli anyway? And you're doing a cheese course as well. Maybe you know what the hosts are doing. Personally, I would have been fasting all day in anticipation of the main event. Plus, you don't want to upstage the hosts. I think citrus zest on the olives is perfect, roasted or not.

        2. re: nemo

          when we do grand aioli we use shrimp but if they aren't using shrimp a chilled light shrimp or shellfish appetizer would be a nice starter. I agree with the nuts idea by nemo. when we cook "French" (apologies to real French folks and francophiles) we frequently start the cocktail hour with piccholine or nicoise olives and a dish of whole almonds that have been toasted and salted.

          If anyone has an idea on HOW to get the salt to stick to a toasted almond I'd appreciate it! Carmelized sugar is obvious but I like them salty not sweet.

          1. re: e_bone

            e bone: I think there's a technique using a whipped egg white, maybe a little butter, salt, and whatever else you want to add (pepper, grated Parmesan) and bake in the oven. Do a Google and see what you come up with.

            1. re: nemo

              nemo's right, egg white is the best way to get the salt to stick...but you can only use this method if you're not serving vegans or strict vegetarians. of course, given the nature of this particular feast, i think they'll be just fine ;)

        3. oh and btw, bubbles- this sounds like an AWESOME idea for a summer party. Love me some rose!