To accompany recipes such as Bunyols de Bacallá (see recipe section) you will need to have made a tasty alioli. This one, like that recipe, comes from Catalunya - where they know a thing or two about how to make sauces and dips.
It seems we owe the joy of alioli to the Roman emperor Nero. I never knew that this man, famous for being one of the more brutal Roman rulers, created the combination of garlic and olive oil that has given us alioli. Something that is today served with many a meal all over Spain.
The Catalans love this creamy garlic mixture which will also have a little pinch of salt. The name comes from the Catalan words all (garlic) and oli (oil). In Catalunya the word is pronounced all-ee-ohlee.
The garlic should be pounded with a wooden pestle and the oil added added to the mortar gradually. Many people now add a little egg to the mixture.
Professional cooks can, without blinking, turn the mortar upside down with the finished alioli inside without any of it falling out. If you can achieve that feat, you really have 'arrived' when it comes to Spanish cooking.
Alioli is served as a piquant sauce to accompany a wide variety of fish, rice dishes, broiled meat and vegetables.
You will need 3 or 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and coarsely chopped. Half a teaspoon of salt, half or a full cup of olive oil (125-250 mils) and some lemon juice. You also have the option of making the modern day version that includes 1-2 egg yolks.
You should put the garlic cloves on a chopping board and crush them. Pound it with salt to make an even paste using a pestle and mortar. If making the egg version, stir in the egg yolk now. Add the olive oil drop by drop at first, then increase it to a thin stream and stir constantly until a thick paste is formed. Use a hand whisk to stir in the oil. Add lemon juice to taste.
Serve cold as a sauce or even as a dip. Fish in batter goes particularly well with alioli.