The Universal Sauce: A Recipe to Enhance Any Dish

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A good sauce is the key to unlocking the flavour of any dish, yet does such a thing exist? It does, and it is named aïoli

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.

Dipping Sauces

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.


eggs 3
mustard seeds 60 g
fresh garlic 1 clove
olive oil 200 ml
vegetable oil 200 ml
fresh tarragon 1 tbsp
lemon juice 2.5 tbsp
salt 1/2 tbsp
pepper to taste
smoked paprika 1 tbsp
sugar 1/2 tsp
Worcester sauce 2 tbsp

Finely chop the clove of garlic and tarragon. Whisk the eggs and mustard seeds, and then slowly fold in the oil while whisking all the time.


Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, Worcester sauce, sugar and paprika. Mix well and serve.