All i oli
A guide to food in Spain
All i oli : garlic and olive oil.
Garlic cloves are pounded in the mortar with oil being added little by little, this results in a pungent viscous pulp in which experts proudly leave the wooden pestle upright, indicating the required consistency. All i oli can be eaten raw as a relish, for grilled meats for example, but its main use is as a picada . All i oli is not the same as garlic mayonnaise, although these days it often appears so; the addition of egg makes the essential emulsion much easier to make – and less lethal on the tongue! Therefore creamy all i oli is very popular, especially as a relish with a wide variety of dishes, especially fideua (see rice and pasta dishes below). However this form is not suitable for a picada as the eggs curdle in hot sauces and the emulsion breaks up, ruining the appearance of the dish.
By Simon Rice
All i oli is a great sauce, made by mixing garlic and olive oil together for a long time with a mortar and pestle. It is sometimes inaccurately described as garlic mayonnaise, but it should never contain any egg. The fact that some shops and restaurants attempt to pass off garlic mayonnaise as all i oli is a disgrace! However, the fond notion that all I oli is a Catalan invention is a complete myth; it was invented in Provence, as any Catalan who bothered to travel less than a couple of hundred kilometres north-east should know. All i oli is particularly good with lamb chops. The Provençals also regard it with reverence, even claiming that chanting certain songs is necessary for it to come together properly. In more superstitious times, Catalans and Provençals shared a common traditional belief that all i oli could not be made by a female at the time of her period.
By Francis Barrett