← Back to Search Results
steaming French, Provence
 Poached Salt Cod with Vegetables and Garlic Mayonnaise Recipe-4346

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0


Grand Aïoli

“Aïoli epitomizes the heat, the power, and the joy of the Provençal sun, but it has another virtue—if drives away files.”

—Frédéric Mistral, Provençal Poet, 1830–1914

Old customs die hard, and though this very Catholic country of France no longer insists that there be a day without meat, Friday is still a fish day as far as the Provençal diet is concerned. You see fish trucks parked in nearly every village, so that housewives can fill their baskets with sardines and anchovies, mackerel, and sweet, tiny mussels from the Bassin de Thau off the Mediterranean. But the favorite Friday fish of all is salt cod, the main ingredient of the popular one-dish meal known as aïoli, which is served with the garlic-rich mayonnaise of the same name. Traditional aïoli includes good portions of poached salt cod, which the French call morue salée, along with steamed green beans, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, and hard-cooked eggs. Some cooks add the local tiny snails known as petits gris, and others add cooked beets and steamed artichokes. A proper aïoli is served only at lunch, giving the digestive system a good long time to deal with the richness of the sauce. The meal is a festive affair, and often the sauce is served direct from the giant stone or marble mortar and olive-wood pestle essential to every Provencal kitchen. Since it is usually quite hot when aïoli is served, it’s perfectly fine if everything is at room temperature, but never cold. As one drives around Provence in the summer months, one often see posters tacked on a tree announcing an Aïoli Géant! Follow the signs and you are sure to have a festive meal, downed with plenty of chilled local rosé.

Yield: 8 servings


  • 2 pounds salt cod
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • A handful of dried fennel branches or 1 fennel bulb, quartered
  • 1 onion, stuck with 4 whole cloves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 pound small beets
  • 2 pounds small potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
  • 1 pound medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 whole cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and broken into florets
  • 1 pound ultra fresh small green beans
  • 8 hard-cooked eggs, in their shells
  • 1 recipe Garlic Mayonnaise


A vegetable steamer

6-quart pasta pot fitted with a colander

1. One or 2 days before preparing the final dish—depending upon the saltiness of the fish—place the salt cod in a bowl of cold water and soak, covered, in the refrigerator. Change the water three or four times during the soaking period to remove excess salt. Drain and rinse the fish.

2. Place the cod in a large saucepan. Add fresh cold water to cover, along with the orange zest, fennel branches or quarters, onion pricked with cloves, and peppercorns, and bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. Cover and let stand for at least 15 minutes. Drain well and discard the flavorings. Scrape any fatty skin off the fish and remove any bones. Tear the fish into large pieces and arrange on a platter.

3. Cooking each vegetable separately, steam the beets, potatoes, and carrots. Peel and halve or quarter the beets and arrange on a separate platter for just the vegetables. Add the potatoes to the platter. Halve the carrots lengthwise and arrange on the platter.

4. Separately blanch, refresh, and drain the cauliflower and green beans. Arrange the cauliflower and beans on the platter. Arrange the eggs around the edges of the platter. Bring the platters to the table and serve with the sauce.


Wine Suggestion: A rosé is traditional here. You need a wine that has enough personality and force of its own, but one that will also allow the powerful garlic mayonnaise to play its role. I am particularly fond of the Bandol rosé from Domaine Tempier.

© 2004 Patricia Wells

Note from Cookstr's Editors

Nutritional information does not reflect the soaking and draining of the salt cod, which dramatically reduces the sodium content of the recipe. Nutritional information does not include Garlic Mayonnaise. For nutritional information on Garlic Mayonnaise, please follow the link above.


Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

585kcal (29%)
309mg (31%)
98mg (164%)
608mcg RAE (20%)
382mg (127%)
8082mg (337%)
2g (11%)
8g (13%)
6mg (36%)

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

rosas-new-mexican-table-friendly-recipes-for-festive-meals Rosa's New Mexican Table: F...
by Roberto Santibanez
a-bakers-odyssey A Baker's Odyssey
by Andrew Schloss
julias-kitchen-wisdom Julia's Kitchen Wisdom
by Julia Child
chez-panisse-fruit Chez Panisse Fruit
by Alice Waters
the-asian-grandmothers-cookbook The Asian Grandmothers Cook...
by Patricia Tanumihardja
the-vegetable-dishes-i-cant-live-without The Vegetable Dishes I Can'...
by Mollie Katzen, Greg Atkinson
american-vegan-kitchen American Vegan Kitchen
by Tamasin Noyes
parents-need-to-eat-too Parents Need to Eat Too
by Debbie Koenig
a-new-way-to-cook A New Way to Cook
by Sally Schneider
the-south-american-table-the-flavor-and-soul-of-authentic-home-cooking-from-patagonia-to-rio-de-janeiro-with-450-recipes The South American Table: T...
by Maria Baez Kijac
complete-book-of-indian-cooking-350-recipes-from-the-regions-of-india Complete Book of Indian Coo...
by Suneeta Vaswani
fruits-of-the-harvest-recipes-to-celebrate-kwanzaa-and-other-holidays Fruits of the Harvest: Reci...
by Eric V. Copage

Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive an activation email in your inbox shortly. Don't forget to click that link and activate your new Cookstr.com account!

Already a member? Sign in here

Sign up for Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?