L’agliata, or how to slow down time.


L’agliata, or how to slow down time.

In past times fridges didn’t exist: an oft-mentioned example of the giant strides made by humanity (or a part of it) in the past 100 years. 

In past times fridges didn’t exist: an oft-mentioned example of the giant strides made by humanity (or a part of it) in the past 100 years. Agliata, the garlic sauce that we want to talk about today, is one of the tastiest reminders of a time when everyday life was decidedly less comfortable than today and when food conservation was a real race against time. Back then, food was transient, subject to decay and limited just like the human beings it sustained and kept alive. In other words, what we humans ate in the past was in every respect much closer to our essence as living creatures than it is today. Agliata is a traditional Sardinian sauce that, in addition to adding a delicious flavour to dishes, also served to conserve food intact for several days thanks to its garlic content with its marked antibacterial and anti-oxidant properties. Not that it was considered in such scientific terms; people had simply noticed that food, in particular fish, could be conserved for longer when dressed with agliata and, since the condiment also made the food much tastier, they didn’t need to wait for the publication of an article in a journal to know what needed to be done. And what needed to be done was the following: chop garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley and chilli pepper and sauté them with extra-virgin olive oil, along with peeled tomatoes, salt and vinegar. The sauce obtained from this process was agliata and was poured, as is the case today, onto fried or boiled fish (particularly ray, dogfish and octopus). Today it’s no longer reserved for seafood, but it is also used with beef liver. Served warm or cold, fish agliata makes a delicious antipasto at any time of the year, and is also an opportunity to reflect on how quickly fish could go off and that garlic served as a strong and tasty antidote to the fate befalling all things.

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