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Add This Surprising Ingredient to Your Aioli

Provençal chef Jany Gleize brings a taste of Southern France to his simple dish.

Oh, les Français. How we envy your lovely lifestyle of food, wine, cheese, wine, chocolate, wine, and butter on all the things. Chef Jany Gleize, the Michelin-starred chef of La Bonne Etape in that oh-so-loved region of the south, Provence, was in Vancouver this week sharing a few cooking tips. His most surprising? He loves to add chocolate to aioli.

Before you shout Zut, alors!, he’s talking dark, unsweetened chocolate, its bitterness adding a roundness to garlicky rich aoili that’s perfect to drape on roast potatoes or pan-fried fish. “In French recipes, much like when we say oil we mean olive oil,” he says, “when we say chocolate, we always mean unsweetened chocolate.”

Unsweetened chocolate adds a je-ne-sais-quoi to garlicky aoili. (Photo: Charisse Kenion)

Aoili, the French (and much tastier) version of homemade mayonnaise, is a perfect accompaniment to both roasted and fresh vegetables, and he serves it alongside pan-fried sablefish and oven-roasted potatoes. You’ll find simple recipes all over the interwebs, but his was straightforward.

Crush six cloves of garlic in a mortar and pestle, then whisk in three egg yolks and a tablespoon or two of lemon juice. Then slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking as you go, until the mixture emulsifies into a thick, rich aoili. If you’d like, add a teaspoon of mustard too.

Then the magic comes. Drizzle in about two tablespoons of unsweetened dark chocolate into the mixture, whisk it up, and you’re ready to serve it and wow your guests with your Provençal secret recipe.

“Cooking is a language,” says Gleize, urging home chefs to put their own mark on whatever they make. “And cooking without an accent, is nothing.”

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