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Mid-Week Menu: Lemon Aioli and Crab Cocktail

Seafood platters are a great serving option for any small gatherings over the festive season – and promise to go down even easier with these heavenly homemade sides .

By Chris AJ Coulter, Belly of the Beast

LEMON AIOLI 

There are many different ways to make a good Aioli but this recipe is a winner and a great jumping-off point for many types of flavoured mayonnaise. You could easily mix through some chopped sun-dried tomatoes or parsley and tarragon to change things up. Also, if you have a food processor this is a doddle and can be whipped up in minutes when you have all the ingredients to hand.

Ingredients: 

Garlic (1 full bulb)

2 Egg yolks

200ml Olive oil

500ml Sunflower oil 

Dash white wine vinegar

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp Dijon mustard 

Pinch salt

Pepper

Method

1) Firstly, confit your garlic. This is essentially where you slowly poach an ingredient in oil. Peel all of the cloves but leave them whole and drop in a small, high-sided saucepan before covering them in the olive oil, they should be submerged. Next put onto a gentle heat and let the garlic and oil heat up slowly. You want the garlic to become soft and fragrant but not really to take too much colour, a golden hue is optimal. When you have achieved this (about 10 minutes but keep an eye on it) take it off the heat. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and let it and the oil cool. You now have deliciously-mellow confit garlic and garlic-infused olive oil.

2) When the garlic has cooled but is still soft, roughly chop 4-6 cloves (or more if you like it piquant) and drop into a food processor. Save the rest for another recipe.

3) Add the dijon and a dash of white wine vinegar with the 2 egg yolks. Blitz this together until the garlic has broken down and you have a paste.

4) Next it’s time to add your oil to make an emulsion – which is to say that you add oil and blitz until the mixture amalgamates and thickens.

5) Decant the garlic-infused olive oil into a measuring jug so you have more control over the speed of pouring. Then, with the food processor running, add the oil in a slow but steady stream, a little faster than ‘dripping speed’. Continue until you have added about a couple of tablespoons.

6) Now switch to sunflower oil; this is a more stable, neutral oil and makes up the bulk of the mayonnaise. With the motor running, continue to add in a steady stream until the mixture starts to thicken. This is not an exact science, you can keep adding oil until it is as thick as you like. When you have a consistency that you are happy with, turn off the food processor. I like it thick enough to hold a spoon upright in.

7) Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the zest, a pinch of salt and a crack of pepper and blitz again. Taste to see if it needs more lemon or seasoning.

NB: If your Aioli splits, don’t panic! Add a splash of hot water and blitz or use an immersion blender to bring it back together, no problems.

CRAB COCKTAIL 

Ingredients:

100g Crab meat cooked and picked (3:1 white to brown) 

6 Cherry tomatoes 

1/2 Red onion

1 small stalk celery

1 small handful iceberg lettuce

3-inch piece cucumber

2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp tomato ketchup

Lemon twist

1/2 tsp Hot paprika

Crab Shell (to serve)

Method

1) Finely dice the tomatoes, red onion and celery and add them to a large bowl.

2) Remove the seeds from the cucumber, finely dice and add to the bowl.

3) Shred the lettuce and add to the bowl.

4) Add the crab meat and mix it through, making sure there is no shell.

5) Add the mayo, ketchup, a squeeze of lemon, paprika and salt and pepper to taste.

6) Let the mixture chill in the fridge for half an hour then pile high into the crab shell trying to strain off as much liquid as possible that the veg will have released.

7) Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, some chive and a slice of lemon.

Belly of the Beast will be providing Seafood and Surf ’n’ Turf Platters throughout December for anyone looking to treat themselves at home, or for any small office gatherings. For more information, visit their Instagram 

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