Rouille

Literally translated as “rust”, this ochre coloured concoction is one of my favourite things. Based on Patricia Wells’ recipe and inspired by my bouillabaisse at Miramar, here’s my crack at it. It just screams of Provence.

Serve with bouillabaisse, fish soups, or — like me — just on its own like an aioli with some raw veggies, some good bread and a crisp white wine.

I use a pestle and mortar to make this when I can, as I think the texture is better, and the ritual is wonderful and calming! But you can use a hand-whisk, a blender, whatever works for you.

Serves 6–8 people, easily

6–8 fat garlic cloves

a good pinch of sea salt

2 large fresh egg yolks

250ml extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon of saffron threads

a pinch of cayenne pepper

a pinch of ground chilli peppers

1. Warm your mortar with a splash of hot water, and dry well. Crush the garlic in the mortar with the sea salt, getting it as smooth as you can. Add the egg yolks and combine, stirring and pressing, always in the same direction.

2. When you have a silky amalgam, start adding the olive oil a drop at a time, stirring and pressing constantly, adding another drop at a time.

3. When you have mixture that seems to be holding together even though it will still be thin, add the saffron, cayenne and chilli pepper, then carry on adding the oil: once the mixture has thickened and starts to feel more “jellyish”, you can add more of the oil, in a thin stream, continuing to stir and beat until you have a nice wobbly, creamy mayonnaise texture.

4. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve room temperature.

This can be refrigerated for a couple of days — if it doesn’t all go at once!