Preparation info

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Appears in

Honey from a Weed

By Patience Gray

Published 1986

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Allioli is the Catalan sauce discussed in ‘Chopping and Pounding’ and illustrated in ‘The Feast of the Three Fishermen of Calafell’. This sauce, most welcome in hot weather, is at its best when garlic is freshly pulled (i e not yet dried) in June. The heads of garlic are sometimes grilled beforehand in the ashes of a wood fire, unpeeled.

Using a marble mortar, pound seven or eight peeled garlic cloves with sea salt to a perfect pulp. Add two drops of water, stir again and begin pouring the olive oil drop by drop. You will obtain a dense pale sauce. Stir in a few drops of wine vinegar.

This sauce sometimes receives, once the garlic has been pounded, the addition of a few spoonfuls of white breadcrumbs, previously soaked in wine vinegar, then squeezed, and pounded; or a substantial slice of bread fried in oil, then pounded in. In both cases finely chopped single-leaved parsley is added and similarly pounded.

This produces a pungent paste which is then diluted with the juices of a fish baked in the oven and further lubricated with olive oil and lemon juice. The sauce is served in the mortar to accompany the baked fish.

Perhaps here I should recall Josep Pla’s remark: Mayonnaise is to allioli as lamb is to lion.

The Greek version of allioli is called skordaliá.