Believe it or not, the immense variety of sauces, gravies and dressings used by modern chefs boils down to a very limited number of basic formulas.
In 1903, the legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier described five “mother sauces” that became the staple of modern cuisine: béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise and tomato sauce. The acclaimed Russian chef Mark Statsenko shares the secrets of preparing the universal sauce that is aïoli.
Forget the formalities: dipping sauces are light, universal and democratic, and they can be paired with any finger food.
Aïoli is a light dip based on lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, and it works equally well with fish, meat and vegetables. It is wholesome, simple to make and has a balanced taste, and it is one of the oldest sauces in human history.
The sauce is frequently associated with Provencal cuisine, which even features the traditional dish Le Grand Aïoli, made from boiled eggs, potatoes, carrots, green beans and salted cod with aïoli dressing. Although often referred to as “Provence oil,” a dressing made from olive oil and garlic was known in Ancient Rome at least 2,000 years ago and is even mentioned by Pliny in one of his works. Today, the zesty aïoli is one of the most popular sauces worldwide.