Aioli: How do you prepare and apply it?
Aioli is known and yet not. It is a sauce for dipping, but it is officially a garlic sauce for specific dishes. Yet according to many, aioli is not an ‘ordinary’ garlic sauce. Aioli is gaining in popularity and you see aioli more and more in ready-made form in the store for sale. It is applicable in several ways. Where does aioli come from, what can you do with it and how do you make delicious aioli yourself?
Where does aioli come from?
Most people know that it is a Mediterranean sauce. Officially it is a Catalan sauce. Catalonia is part of Spain and is one of the most touristic areas of Spain. Especially the coastal area, if you just drive over the Pyrenees into Spain. In addition, the center of Catalonia is of course Barcelona.
Aioli is Spanish, but in Catalan you write it as ‘allioli’. There is also a French version, namely: ‘aïoli’. It is actually the combination of the main ingredients garlic and oil: ‘all i oli’.
What is the composition of aioli?
As with so many dishes, it’s not just about the ingredients, but also the way you make something. Yet it starts with the basic ingredients, namely:
- 3 cloves of garlic
- pinch of coarse salt or sea salt
- 125 grams of olive oil
- 1 egg yolk
It starts with the mortar. If you don’t have a mortar, it will be difficult to make aioli. Start by peeling and finely chopping the garlic cloves and make a smooth mass with the salt. It should really be a mess. Then you add the egg yolk and you continue to cream the sauce until it is one whole. Very slowly add a few dashes of olive oil. It has to go very smoothly, otherwise the olive oil will not be absorbed well into the sauce. Do this until all the olive oil has been absorbed and forms a whole.
When the sauce is well prepared, it is a bit thin (it runs well off the spoon), the sauce is a whole without lumps and looks somewhat glassy and shiny.
- A homemade sauce, if well covered, can be kept in the refrigerator for at least two days.
- For a little more freshness in the sauce, you can add a little lemon juice. Never more than one tablespoon.
- Usually the basic recipe gives enough flavor, but some people like a little fresh black pepper on the side.
- Because of the raw egg, aioli is not recommended for pregnant women and this also applies to people with less resistance.
What do you eat aioli with?
Baguette and wine
If you want to taste the real and above all pure taste of fresh aioli, you don’t really need to add many other flavors. Simply dipping some pieces of baguette into the sauce is enough to let the delicious taste come in, especially in combination with a good glass of red wine. White baguette has the least taste of itself, so in this it is better to take white baguette.
You will also find aioli more and more with all kinds of tapas dishes, but you can taste just a little less of the typical taste because of all those dishes.
Catalonia is located on the coast (Mediterranean Sea) and then you can’t ignore it… aioli has to be combined with different types of fish. Think about:
- sea bass
The fish can be cut into small pieces after cleaning and can be enjoyed with or without a baguette or a little pasta (without added spices).
Not infrequently we also see aioli served as part of a fish and salad meal. A traditional salad, a piece of fresh fish, possibly supplemented with some fries and a bowl of aioli. This is also possible, but it is good to consider the fact that the taste of aioli is pronounced and it would be a shame if this taste ‘disappears’ in a meal with more diverse flavors. If you make such a combination, then the salad should be quite neutral, and you should not add spices to the fries.
Not all types of meat lend themselves to a combination with aioli, but red meat, for example, is. Some examples to combine with meat:
- Beef carpaccio on a bed of arugula and aioli is poured over the wafer-thin meat.
- Pork tenderloin, with a little bit of pepper on top. Made up with a freshly prepared salad of tomato, cucumber, a few strips of yellow pepper, some pine nuts and a bowl of aioli.
- Maximum medium fried and very thinly sliced steak, can also be combined with aioli. Possibly supplemented with some baked potato slices and some sea salt sprinkled over it
Aioli seems like a simple sauce and although easy to prepare, it is certainly not an easy sauce to combine. It has a distinct taste and in order for it to come into its own, it is important to think carefully about how to combine aioli.