Creamy, mildly spicy and redolent of garlic, Rouille is a French sauce that’s somewhere between Aiolli and Romesco. How it’s made varies widely depending on where you happen to be from, but it generally contains olive oil, garlic and piment d’espelette (a French chili pepper) along with a starch such as potatoes or stale bread.
While it may sound a bit odd at first, the person who came up with the idea of adding bread to rouille is a genius. Not only does the bread add umami to the sauce, the starch from the bread acts as a stabilizer helping the lecithin in the eggs and the phospholipids in the garlic hold the oil and water emulsion. Put simply the bread makes it almost impossible to mess this up.
While this is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, I like pureeing the garlic, bread, stock and egg yolk using a hand blender, which achieves a much smoother texture. You could also use a small food processor, though you may need to double the batch to make it spin.
I know it might be tempting to use the hand blender to incorporate the olive oil, but don’t do it. I’m not sure why this happens, but when you emulsify the mixture with a hand blender, the rouille turns bitter.
In my version, I like using smoked paprika because the smoky flavor makes for the perfect complement to a well toasted slice of bread, and it also goes incredibly well with seafood soups such as bouillabaisse or Soupe de Poisson, but it’s also a fantastic spread for sandwiches or as a condiment for fried foods.
Since the egg yolk is used raw it’s essential that you use pasteurized eggs to avoid getting sick.
- 0.9 ounces day-old baguette (crust removed, and torn into small pieces)
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock
- 0.3 ounces garlic (2 medium cloves)
- 1 pasteurized egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- Cayenne pepper (to taste)
- Put the pieces of baguette in a bowl and pour the vegetable stock over it. Let the stock get fully absorbed by the bread before proceeding.
- Add the garlic, egg yolk, paprika and salt to the bowl. Use a hand blender to puree the mixture until smooth.
- Use a whisk to whisk in the olive to the Rouille a little bit at a time. Add cayenne pepper as desired and adjust salt to taste.
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.