Allioli is a fragrant, pungent garlic sauce that has the consistency of mayonnaise, the kick of wasabi, and the deep fragrance of garlic. It really pops of flavor, and the first time I tried it (while making it for these photos), I was like WOW. The pungent raw garlic combined with the oil and just a dash of lemon is addictive.
This recipe is based off of José Andrés’ book Made In Spain and was made as part of the Daring Cook’s Challenge for August 2009. For the challenge, I made allioli as part of a bigger dish: Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes (a Catalan version of paella). The allioli and the sofregit make this dish uniquely Catalan.
Allioli is a bit tricky to make. It involves a temporary suspension of garlic and oil into a beautiful creamy emulsion of a sauce that can be put on top of your food. The first step, add finely minced garlic (2-3 cloves) and a dash of sea salt to a mortar and pestle. The salt not only adds flavor, it also stops the garlic from slipping during the grinding and aids in the pulverization of the garlic.
1. Start mashing the garlic until it becomes a smooth paste.
2. Add 1-2 drops of lemon juice.
3. Drop by drop, add olive oil to the mixture while continually grinding and stirring. This is important! If you add too much oil at once (I think I had added like 3 mL), the oil breaks up the emulsion and you are left with bits and particles of garlic floating around in oil – not pretty.
If this happens, however, do not fear! Set the separated suspension aside and start over with just one clove of minced garlic and some salt. Once you have a new emulsion going, slowly add back in the separated suspension and it should all blend together again. This happened to me once, and luckily it was easy to fix!
All in all, with 3-4 cloves of garlic, you might end up adding about 10 mL of oil. It’s all by taste, and feel free to stop when you are happy with the sauce. If it looks like mayonnaise, you might be good to go!
José says that the allioli should be refrigerated before serving and that it should always be made the same day that it is eaten. Since it does involve raw garlic, it’s true that the sauce does lose potency over time. I tasted a bit right after making it, and it was still delicious. I guess refrigerating it might help with the texture so it’s not so runny!
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