This simple feast is a celebration of summer. Raymond Blanc gives recipes for four dips to go with crudités.
For the crudités, using a mandoline slicer, or a very sharp knife, slice all the vegetables lengthways into 2mm/⅛in strips.
Wash the vegetables in plenty of cold water, then plunge them into a large bowl of iced water and place in the fridge for 6-12 hours. This will plump the vegetables with the water making them firm and curled into wonderful shapes.
For the hummus, drain the chickpeas and place them in a medium saucepan, cover with fresh water, to a level 3cm/1¼in above the top of the chickpeas. Bring the water to a boil and simmer very gently for about one hour, or until the chickpeas are tender. Drain the chickpeas and allow to cool.
Place the chickpeas in a food processor with the tahini paste, garlic, oil, water, cumin and lemon juice. Blend to a purée and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For the smoked aubergine caviar, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Hold the aubergine over an open gas flame with a pair of tongs and char on all sides for 5-10 minutes or until the skin blackens and blisters. Place the aubergine on a baking tray and roast in the oven for five minutes.
Allow the aubergine to cool, then peel off the skin. Slice open lengthways and spoon out the seeds and any excess water.
Place the remaining aubergine flesh and garlic in a food processor or blender and purée and add the oil little by little, until the mixture is smooth and silky.
Add the lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For the guacamole, blanch the avocado in a pan of boiling water for 2-3 seconds, then refresh in cold water.
Peel, remove the stone and cut the flesh into 1cm/½in dice. (Blanching will cook the chlorophyll in the avocado, preventing it from browning.)
Place the olive oil, water and lime or lemon juice in a food processor or blender, add the diced avocado, salt and cayenne pepper and purée until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste and set aside.
For the aioli, whisk together the egg yolks, salt, pepper, garlic and saffron in a large mixing bowl.
Add the oil in a steady trickle, whisking all the time, until the mixture has thickened and turns a pale orange – you will have used about two-thirds of the oil. Add the lemon juice, then whisk in the remaining oil.
Season, to taste, with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.
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