Ammogghiu is a Sicilian pesto-like sauce used as a grilling sauce, marinade, dipping sauce, and pasta sauce. Garlic, olive oil, herbs, tomatoes, lemon, capers, and nuts are some common ingredients that go into the makings of this simple sauce. Ammogghiu sauces are made using certain ingredients depending on the meat or dish being served. If fish is being served, the sauce is likely to have lemon juice in it but not tomato. An ammogghiu made with tomato is best on pasta, chicken, or lamb. A mortar and pestle is essential to making ammogghiu and no Sicilian cook is without one. Mashing the garlic and herbs in a mortar and pestle brings out the oils and flavors that mincing or pureeing with a blender just doesn’t accomplish. But use a blender if you must.
Grilled Ribeye Steaks with Mint Ammogghiu Sauce
(Bistecca alla Brace con Ammogghiu di Menta)
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 servings.
4 ribeye steaks (1-inch thick)
8 fresh basil leaves
5 fresh mint leaves
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1. MAKE THE AMMOGGHIU SAUCE: Using a mortar and pestle, mash together the garlic, salt, basil, and mint into a pulp. Transfer to a small bowl and add olive oil and oregano. Mix well and let sit 1 hour or more.
2. GRILL THE STEAKS: Bring steaks to room temperature 1 hour before grilling. Preheat grill to high. Grill 4 to 6 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Immediately spoon some of the ammougghiu sauce on top of the steaks. Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Serve along with any remaining sauce.