What Is Ammoglio Sauce?

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Drizzle ammoglio over chicken, pork, beef or fish.
Drizzle ammoglio over chicken, pork, beef or fish. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Ammoglio sauce is a condiment, marinade and a dipping sauce that originated in Sicily. In Sicily, ammoglio has many regional variations, and every family prepares it in a manner specific to its culinary traditions, personal tastes and access to seasonal ingredients. These variations are also manifest in the spelling of the sauce, amogio and ammogio being the two most common alternative forms.

Never Too Much Tomato

The first of two ammoglio variations is tomato-based. This variation is comparable to Mexican salsa but served over any fish or grilled meat, especially beef. A basic ammoglio is diced tomatoes mixed with chopped garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, basil, salt and black pepper. Before using at the table, let the mixture sit in the fridge for a few hours in a glass, ceramic or plastic storage container so it chills and the flavors meld.

Don't Second-Guess Substitutions

Sicily's cuisine lends itself well to improvisation. Ammoglio sauce is no exception. If you like, substitute shallots for garlic. Skip the lemon juice and drizzle in some fresh lime or balsamic vinegar -- the salad dressing kind, not aceto balsamico tradizionale, traditional balsamic vinegar, which is highly concentrated and expensive. If you're out of basil, then oregano, thyme or mint are more than OK. A dash of parsley couldn't hurt, either. If you're bouncing back from a bad breakup with black pepper, give white pepper or red chili flakes a call.

Ammoglio Gets a Makeover

Lemon-garlic ammoglio is closely associated with chicken spiedini, a breaded fried chicken dish. The star ingredients are -- you guessed, lemon juice and garlic. White wine, olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper are also in the mix. Use any dry white wine that strikes your fancy. For herbs, whatever is fresh and on hand will work. At the table, guests dress their sizzling chicken with a bit of ammoglio, which is typically served in a vessel on the side.

Lemon Ammoglio Works Overtime

Lemon-garlic ammoglio is a textbook marinade, with a fat and acid base that tenderizes and flavors meat. As with all marinades, recipes are blueprints, and you should definitely toss in the ingredients and flavors you would like to accentuate in the finished dish. Raise the sweetness level a little with a mixture of sour orange and lemon juice or lime instead. Incorporate any amount of garlic you like. For herb flavors stronger than parsley, aromatic mint, basil and thyme are contenders, as is tarragon. Add a few drops of white truffle oil to the olive oil. After you've decided on your ingredients, mix them all in a non-metal storage container. Marinate the meat in the fridge in the ammoglio for at least one hour or overnight.

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