Quorn & Oyster Mushroom ‘Al Ajillo’ Recipe

‘Al ajillo’ sauce is a garlic and white wine sauce and one for garlic lovers. It is very typical of Gibraltar and a classic in Spanish cuisine. Traditionally the sauce is made with white meats but there is no reason why this can’t be made into a high protein vegetarian/vegan meal. I often say that just because you are vegetarian or vegan it doesn’t mean you have to stop eating the foods you’ve always enjoyed. It is simply a case of adapting the food and making a few clever substitutions.

This kind of food is not glamorous but rather it is rustic home cooking and bursting in flavour. The taste of garlic is mellowed a lot in the cooking so despite the name and amount of garlic used it isn’t overpowering. In fact garlic is prevalent in Spanish cuisine, so for those of us used to it you can never have enough garlic, but for those not used to it, trust me, the garlic becomes sweet. The amount of oil again may seem quite high but you need this is order to confit the garlic. The secret is to ensure the garlic is covered in oil and to cook this gently so that it doesn’t brown, let alone burn. I also like to leave a few cloves whole (just give them a bit of a crack) and when it is time to serve the flesh of the clove will come out and will be lovely and sweet.

To give it depth of flavour I use a little bit of yeast extract (Marmite) which has that meaty taste and some Maggi’s seasoning sauce. These are optional but I think the dish tastes better with these ingredients. I tend to use vegan Quorn fillets for this. The reason being they have better taste and texture than the regular Quorn fillets. You can also make this with seitan or tofu, or just with Quorn without the mushrooms. You can also make this just with mushrooms – oyster mushrooms work very well as they keep a good texture after cooking. If omitting one or the other simply double the amounts while keeping the rest of the ingredients the same.

This dish is traditionally served with fried potatoes, although as a child I used to have it with boiled potatoes which I would mash with the sauce. As a more grown up and healthy alternative you can serve with boiled baby potatoes which only take about 20 minutes to cook.

Quorn & Oyster Mushroom ‘Al Ajillo’ Recipe
Yield: 4 Servings
Difficulty: Easy
Cooking time:
Metric
US/Cups

Ingredients

  • 250 g of Quorn or seitan
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  •  1.5 whole heads of garlic (14-16 fat cloves of garlic)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500 g oyster mushrooms
  • 250 ml white wine
  • 100 ml water
  • 1½ tsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp yeast extract (Marmite)
  • ½ tsp Maggi’s Jugo sauce (optional)
  • 1 kg baby potatoes
  • ½ lb of Quorn or seitan
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  •  1.5 whole heads of garlic (14-16 fat cloves of garlic)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb oyster mushrooms
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3½ fl oz water
  • 1½ tsp plain flour
  • 0.5 tsp yeast extract (Marmite)
  • 0.5 tsp Maggi’s Jugo sauce (optional)
  • 2¼ lbs baby potatoes

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop the garlic leaving a few cloves whole with just a bit of a crack.

    Chopped garlic
    Chopped garlic
  2. Heat a deep pan to a medium heat and add the garlic. Allow to cook gently for about 10 minutes and add a bay leaf (this is optional). You could also add a few whole peppercorns at this stage but I prefer to add crushed black pepper at the end.

    Grlic cooking for the 'al ajillo' sauce
    Garlic cooking for the ‘al ajillo’ sauce
  3. When the garlic starts to go soft and they look like they are about to caramelise add the oyster mushrooms cut into strips. This may seem like a lot but they reduce reduce substantially although they do retain their firm texture. Stir and cover for a few minutes.

    Oyster mushrooms for 'al ajillo' sauce
    Oyster mushrooms for ‘al ajillo’ sauce
  4. Add a large glass of white wine and cook uncovered on a medium simmer for about 5-10 minutes so that the alcohol evaporates and the flavours develop.
  5. Add the Marmite and Maggi’s Jugo sauce at this stage. Stir in and allow to dissolve into the sauce.
  6. Add the flour to a small cup and add a few tablespoons of the sauce to mix into a paste. Add about 100ml of cold water, mix and add back into the pan. Stir in and leave on a low heat for another few minutes.
  7. Serve with freshly cooked baby potatoes.

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