The intense, sublime sauce called aioli, a classic of Provençale cuisine, is the essence of simplicity and flavour. The garlic you use is crucial: it needs to be as fresh as possible. Look for solid heads with tight, papery skins. If the clove is too old, the garlic will be too strong. I recommend that you use a mortar and pestle but you can also use a blender; the consistency will be creamier and more like mayonnaise.
Wakame ( Undaria pinnatifida) is a seaweed rich in calcium, iodine, iron, protein and niacin. Wakame also aids the digestion of fat, and with its slightly sweet flavour and tender texture it is an excellent addition to this traditional aioli. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is a cooling food and both a blood and yin tonic. It helps to reduce conditions of excess heat, water, mucus and dispel toxins. It reduces vata.
High quality dried wakame can be found at natural food store or online. Once hydrated, wakame should be cooked for about 7 minutes, or until softened. Fresh wakame requires refrigeration and prompt use.
Aioli makes a wonderful sauce for vegetables, sandwiches, salads, grilled fish or meat.
Aioli with Wakame
¼ cup coarsely chopped very fresh garlic, at room temperature
1 teaspoon coarse unrefined sea salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, at room temperature
1 large egg or 2 large egg yolks, left at room temperature for 30 minutes
3 fronds of wakame ( about ½ once)
1.In a small pan, hydrate the wakame in water to cover for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Cut out the center stripe and discard. Return in the pan and bring water to a boil, lower heat and cook 7 minutes. Chop the wakame into 1- inch pieces and set aside.
2.Combine garlic, wakame, salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a blender at high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
3.Add egg yolks and, with motor running, very slowly add remaining oil in a thin, steady stream, blending until aioli is thick. This will take about 2 minutes.
4.Transfer to a bowl.
The aioli can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days.