Alliatum ex amygdala
An almond or walnut garlic sauce - contributed by Gaylin J. Walli

Original recipes from De honesta voluptate:

Garlic Sauce with Walnuts or Almonds. Add to semicrushed almonds or nuts as much as you want of clean garlic, and grind best at the same time, as is sufficient, sprinkling continually with a bit of water so it does not produce oil. Put into the ground ingredients bread crumbs softened in meat or fish stock, and grind again. If it seems too hard, it can be easily softened in the same juice. It will keep very easily to the time we mentioned for mustard. My friend Callimachus is very greedy for this dish, even though it is of little nourishment, delays a long time in the stomach, dulls the vision and warms the liver. (Milham, 359)

Rather Highly Colored Garlic Sauce. Do this in the way mentioned above [for the garlic sauce with walnuts or almonds]. Do not soak in water or juice, but in the must of red grapes, pressed by hand and cooked for a half hour. This can even be done with cherry juice. This is more nourishing than what we described before. (Milham, 361)

Modern recipe: Almonds or Walnuts and Garlic Sauce

For 160:

  • 1 1/4 gallons walnuts or almonds or a combination 
  • 40 cloves cloves garlic 
  • 1 1/4 gallons bread crumbs, unseasoned
  • 3 3/4 quarts beef or veal stock
For 8:
  • 1 cup walnuts or almonds or a combination 
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, unseasoned
  • 3/4 cup beef or veal stock
Combine the nuts and garlic in a food processor and grin until fine. Add the bread crumbs and stock and continue processing until combined well. If needed, thicken with more bread crumbs or thin with more stock until desired consistency is reached.

Per serving nutritional information:

79 Calories; 3g Fat (33.9% from fat); 2.6g Protein; 10.7g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesteral; 203mg Sodium

Notes on the recipe:

Nuts take a great deal of time to crush by hand in a mortar, but an abundance of kitchen help would take care of this problem. Our guess is that a good knife and a few hits of a good wooden roller would crush the almonds or walnuts sufficiently to count as semi-crushed in Platina's first instruction of this recipe. To this, he would have added freshly peeled garlic and ground it again, though the addition of sprinkled water perplexes us. We have not seen an oily mixture produced during hand grinding, nor do we understand why this oil might not be desirable in the sauce.

To the ground ingredients, Platina has soaked crumbs added suggesting meat or fish stock as the juice used for softening the bread. Both juices are suggested perhaps as alternatives for meat-eating and meatless days. Bread crumbs added, the mixture is ground one more time and if too hard, it is softened with more of the same juice used to soak the bread crumbs. For the highly colored garlic sauce, the only change would be the use of dark grape must as the alternative to meat or fish stock.

Platina says that the sauce will last as long as a previously mentioned mustard sauce, which is not so much a measure of time as a statement of shape and transport. The mustard sauce recipe has the cook shaping the sauce into little balls. To be done with this sauce would require a significant reduction in the liquid, enough to make a doughy mixture. As with the mustard recipe, the balls could be shaped, dried, and transported wherever needed, at which time they would be soaked "in verijuice or vinegar, or must" (Milham, 359) to soften them and use them as a sauce.

Texture and crumbs:

Although the recipe works with commercial bread crumbs, the resulting sauce seems overly grainy to our taste buds. We suggest trimming the crusts off your stale bread pieces and using stale bread in the sauce rather than commercial crumbs. The resulting sauce is much smoother in texture. Do not be tempted to add more crumbs during the initial mixing. The sauce will thicken as it stands and additional crumbs will only make the sauce more like pudding. Wait at least 20-30 minutes before adding more crumbs if you think the sauce is too thin, likewise for more stock. The sauce should be spoonable, not pourable, when it is complete.

Sauce amounts:

Although the amounts stated here are listed for 8 and 160 servings, you may be able to get away with a little less. We chose to serve these amounts because less appeared to be skimpy, even in appropriately sized bowls. If you are serving the highly colored sauce, we believe you can successfully serve twice the number of people than what is listed in this recipe because many people will find the fruity taste odd (though not unpleasant).

Additional notes on this recipe may be found at: The Coronation Feast of Dag IV & Elayna II


Milham, Mary Ella. Platina's On Right Pleasure and Good Health. University of North Carolina at Asheville: Pegasus Press, 1999. ISBN: 0866982086.

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Gaylin Walli is a technical writer and editor for a multinational software company. She spends the vast majority of her personal time researching things because her friends (and people throughout the known world) torture her with comments like "Do you know anything about..."

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