This is an adaptation of the venerable San Francisco dish called crab Louis. Prep Time: 30 minutes. Notes: Leftover aioli keeps, refrigerated, for 3 days and is delicious on sandwiches.
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 pound cooked bay shrimp, rinsed and drained
4 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
3 to 4 large heads red or green Belgian endive, or a combination
Freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
Whirl egg, 1/2 tsp. salt, garlic, and mustard in a food processor until smooth. Add oil, drop by drop at first and then in a slow stream once mixture has begun to emulsify. Whirl until mixture is thick, then add red pepper flakes and lemon juice and pulse to combine. Chill aioli, covered with plastic wrap.
Mix shrimp with parsley, thyme, and salt to taste. Add just enough aioli to bind the shrimp (5 to 6 tbsp.); save leftover aioli for another use (see Notes).
Cut bases off endive and separate leaves (save small ones for salad). Arrange leaves on a platter and top each with a tablespoon of shrimp mixture and a grind of pepper. Serve immediately.
This is a delicious and attractive starter, worthy of a special occasion. To make it easy on yourself, use light mayonnaise and eliminate the egg and the oil. Garlic paste can be substituted for the fresh garlic if you wish. As a time saver, the mixture can be made and refrigerated the day before your event. Lovely!
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