Alioli – the original health food
Did you know that garlic can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, or that olive oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties? The ancients – Egyptians, Greeks and Romans – used both extensively in cooking, and even today they are key elements in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.
Tapas Bar Mayfair Makes Alioli
Alioli (in Spanish – aioli in French) is a garlic and olive oil mix that probably originated in southern Europe in medieval times. Traditionally, it was made by smashing garlic cloves into a paste and then slowly adding olive oil to make an emulsified sauce.
There have always been regional variations, though, with recipes varying from Provence in France to Catalonia in Spain. Some add egg yolks to the mixture, others add herbs or lemon. The alioli you’re likely to come across in restaurants, probably uses egg yolks beaten with olive oil added bit by bit to create a kind of mayonnaise-style sauce before garlic, and any other flavours are added.
Chef Jamie Oliver adds Dijon mustard to his along with salt, pepper and lemon juice. But if you’re in a hurry, you can simply soak minced garlic in lemon juice for ten minutes, strain and then add to mayonnaise – it won’t be as good, of course (bought mayonnaise is made with a neutral oil; proper alioli, only with olive oil) but it will be quick.
What you eat it with is up to you. Jamie Oliver likes to dunk a chip in his, and there are those who have it with crispy potato wedges or sweet potato fries. It’s also very good with prepared vegetables like green beans or roasted cauliflower.
At El Pirata in Mayfair’s Down Street, for 30 years we have been a firm favourite for those seeking out an authentic Spanish experience in London, and so ensuring our alioli is up to standard is of course a key priority. We serve our homemade alioli alongside our juicy prawn fritters, as well as adding a hearty dollop to our famed black rice and squid dish. Naturally we have plenty on hand for whenever a customer requests some – we notice that many guests enjoy an extra helping of alioli with our pinchos morunos con chorzo (marinated chicken and chorizo skewers).
However you eat it, though, you can be satisfied that it’s full of vital minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that will do you nothing but good. So, go on – indulge yourself at this restaurant close to Hyde Park Corner and close to Shepherds Market.