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Some French cooks have laid claim to mayonnaise being an invention of theirs, but there is no logic to this claim. Notwithstanding that Mahon, which is the origin of Salsa Mahonesa, and thence Mayonnaise, is a port on the Island of Menorca in the Baleriac Islands of Spain, but spanish cuisine is rich with oil based sauces. There are several types of Aliolli which is a sauce flavoured with garlic, then there is Salsa Romesco flavoured with dried peppers and garlic and thicken with almonds which is served with shellfish, plus a myriad of green sauces with different combinations of herbs, garlic and chillies that are used to enliven everything that can be grilled, from spatchcocked quail to lamb chops to ‘Secreto de Cerdo’ (the secret bit of pork) in the meat range plus every type of fish.

I would like to lead you through the range of Aliollis. I am not going to start with the most basic, which is made by pounding garlic cloves and salt in a mortar with a pestle, and then slowly adding extra virgen olive oil until you have a thick sauce, for the simple reason that at this time of the year the dry garlic has been in store for quite some time and is not at its best for eating uncooked. The best garlic at the moment is spring garlic, with which one makes a light sweet Aliolli that is a beautiful pale green colour.

This sauce uses all of the egg and sunflower oil rather than olive. If you have had Aliolli in a restaurant while visiting spain, wether it was made with green garlic or the while cloves, the chances are that it was made this way. The texture of this Aliolli is much more solid and light at the same time than when using olive oil.Image

The other key thing to mention before you get started, is that all your ingredients must be at room temperature or above for the sauce to thicken. It is impossible to make any sort of oil based sauce with cold ingredients.

GREEN ALIOLLI

4 Spring garlic

I large egg

pinch of salt

300 ml sunflower oilImage

Clean off the outside layer and any tough green leaves of your garlics and then wash them. Chop them into chunks and put into the food processor, then blitz them to cut them up.

Add the egg and the pinch of salt. Process to cut the garlics smaller and mix the egg well.

Very slowly add the oil. It is ideal if your processor has a tube where you can add the oil as the mixer is on. If the sauce looks thin at any time, stop adding the oil until it thickens again.

Eat your sauce with crusty bread instead of butter, as a dressing on plain boiled potato cubes, with fish, with pork chops, with………..

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