Allioli. Allioli. Allioli. I love how the vowels and lulling Ls roll off the tongue – softly and whimsically – almost like a child’s nonsense word. all-ee-oh-lee. It’s a melodic sound. Allioli is a Catalan version of classic aioli, and it differs fundamentally from Provençal aiolis in that it is made without egg yolk – offering just a combination of good quality olive oil, fragrant garlic and unrefined sea salt.
In this version of allioli, I’ve augmented the classic Catalan combination of olive oil, garic and salt with the bright flavors of preserved lemon and fresh mint. This is a raw recipe – teeming with beneficial bacteria, vitamins and food enzymes. Preserved lemon, a fermented food featuring prominently in North African cuisine, provides a lovely but well-tempered sourness to the allioli. Preserved lemon, a combination of little more than lemon, unrefined sea salt and time, is extraordinarily rich in nutrients including vitamin C, food enzymes and beneficial bacteria. The raw garlic provides a boost of additional vitamin C and can be a powerful antioxidant. Olive oil features prominently in this sauce, so it’s essential to choose a very good quality unrefined oil. A good olive oil should be fragrant, rich and bold.
Preserved Lemon Allioli
- Toss the chopped preserved lemon, peeled garlic cloves and chopped fresh mint into the basin of your food processor along with a dash unrefined sea salt. Pulse the ingredients together for a few seconds until they’re well-combined.
- Continue to process the ingredients while pouring the unrefined extra virgin olive oil into the mixture in a very thin stream until the allioli is well-emulsified and smooth.