AIOLI is a Provencal sauce made of garlic, olive oil, usually egg yolks and seasonings. The proper recipe did not include lemon juice, though many people add it. There are many variations, such as the addition of mustard. It is usually served at room temperature. The name AIOLI comes from Provencal ‘alh’ (garlic) (Latin — allium) + ‘oli’ (oil) (Latin — oleum)
AIOLI is like mayonnaise, an emulsion or suspension of small globules of oil and oil-soluble compounds in water and water-soluble compounds. Egg-yolk can be used as an emulsifier, and is generally used in making AIOLI today. However, mustard and garlic both emulsify oil and some variants, such as Valencia allioli omit the eggs.
Egg yolks, garlic and seasonings are whisked together, then the oil and the lemon juice are added, initially very slowly, whisking to emulsify, once the emulsion has started to form, the oil can be added faster.
In Occitan cuisine, AIOLI is typically served with seafood, fish soup and croutons, in a dish called MERLUCA AMB ALHOLI. In the Occitan Valleys of Italy, it is served with potatoes boiled with salt and bay laurel.
In Provence, AIOLI or, more formally, LE GRAND AIOLI, also designates a complete dish consisting of various boiled vegetables (uniformly cut carrots, potatoes and green beans), boiled fish (normally soaked salt cod), and boiled eggs usually served with snails, with the AIOLI sauce. Other commonly used vegetables are cauliflower, courgettes (zucchini) and raw tomato.
There are other forms of AIOLI :
(a) ALLIOLI —– from “all I oli”, Catalan for “garlic & oil”, is a typically paste-like cold sauce of Catalonia, Balearic islands and Valencia. It is made by pounding garlic with olive oil and salt in a mortar until smooth. It is often served with “arros a banda”, from Alicante, with grilled lamb, grilled vegetables and arros negre, and comes in other varieties such as ALLIOLI de codony (allioli with boiled quince, not the preserve) or allioli with boiled pear.
(b) AILLADE —– is the name used in Southern France for 2 different garlic-based condiments. In Provence, it is a garlic-flavoured vinaigrette, while in areas such as Languedoc – Roussillon, it is the name given to AIOLI.
(c) TOUM —– is a garlic sauce common to the Lavant & Egypt. Similar to the Provencal Aioli, it contains garlic and salt, olive oil or vegetable oil and lemon juice, traditionally crushed together using a wooden mortar and pestle. There is also a variation, popular in many villages, such a s Zgharta, where mint is added —— this variation is called ZEIT and TOUM (oil and garlic). TOUM is used as a dip, especially with French fries and chicken, and in Levantine sandwiches, especially those containing chicken.
(d) MUJDEI —– is a spicy Romanian sauce. It is made from garlic cloves crushed and ground into a paste, salted and mixed energetically with water and vegetable oil (sunflower oil is almost always used). Depending on regional preferences and the dish it is served with, vinegar or other ingredients may be added. The result is a white sauce with a very strong garlic flavour, varying in consistency from a thick paste to a very runny sauce. In some parts of Romania, MUJDEI is made out of cream, ground garlic and some salt. It is served with a variety of dishes including fried fish, fried or grilled chicken or pork, rasol, even fried potatoes. The word is derived from “must de ai” that is “must of garlic”.
(e) SKORDALIA —– in Greek also called “aliatha” is a thick puree (or sauce, dip, spread) in Greek cuisine, made by combining crushed garlic with a bulky base ——- which may be a puree of potatoes, walnuts, almonds or liquid-soaked stale bread —— and then beating in olive oil to make a smooth emulsion. Vinegar is often added.
OVERVIEW : Variants may include eggs as an emulsifier, while omitting or reducing the bulk ingredient, which makes for a result similar to the Provencal aioli, Catalan allioli and so on. In the Ionian Islands, cod stock and lemon, instead of vinegar, is usually added and SORDALIA is eaten as a main dish.
SKORDALIA is usually served with batter-fried fish (notably salt cod), fried vegetables (notably eggplant and zucchini) poached fish or boiled vegetables (notably beets). It is, sometimes, used as a dip. SKORDALIA is a modern equivalent of ancient SKOROTHALMI. The name, on the other hand, may be pleonastic compound of Greek “skoroo” (garlic) and Italian “agliate” (garlicky).