19 April 2015

Garlic ~ in 5 Delicious Forms

A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.
Old New York Proverb

Today is another one of those strange “national days” – this time the nation is the USA and the food item is garlic so, even though I am  Brit, I thought I’d write appropriately.

As one would expect I often cook with garlic, although not for my real man of course! This wonderful stuff, however, not only adds an important nuance to so many dishes, it is also a fantastic flavour (or, in fact several different fantastic flavours) in its own right which deserve to be showcased in our cooking.

Bonus!

Garlic is considered to be a strong vampire repellent so, depending where you live, this could be useful.


garlic-cloves

The 5 forms of garlic I shall be writing about today and referred to in the title of this post are – fresh, roasted, smoked, wild and black. They are all wonderful but in different ways so here are some ideas, tips and links to help you make the most of them. 

Firstly, in most cases, all these garlics are interchangeable; they all work well in ...

~   Mayonnaise – homemade or bought in.
~   Salad dressings –see my useful, flexible, “genius" vinaigrette recipe here and replace the fresh garlic with other forms of garlic depending what you are serving it with. These vinaigrettes also make good marinades and dipping sauces.
~   Mashed potato – with the possible exception of black garlic which is bit too sweet, I think.
~   Add to hummus and similar bean dips – basic hummus recipe and suggestions here.
~   Risotto – see here for Black Garlic Risotto recipe.
~   Pesto
~   Garlic butters and, thereafter, various forms of garlic bread, all gorgeous!
~   Rich, creamy and very easy Alfredo Sauce to use on pasta and other things too.
~   Soup – lots of recipes in my Genius Recipe Soup book plus all the info you need to create your own recipes.
~   Garlic oils (IMPORTANT – either use immediately or freeze as they can cause botulism otherwise) – and hence croutons, drizzles on soup, dipping oils etc.

So I'm starting with wild garlic as the season is upon us and it’s time to get gathering!


wild-garlic-flowers

Wild Garlic


Here’s a strange and irritating thing – for 14 years my sister and I ran a restaurant in Cornwall and for 14 springs we drove past, frequently, a large and rampant patch of wild garlic, remarked on the fragrance and never, ever thought of picking and using the stuff!

I have written a lot about this already – the most useful wild garlic post, I think, is this one with instructions and lots of ideas here. 

buying-fresh-garlic

Fresh Garlic


There are, of course a myriad (and then some) things to do with fresh garlic, here are a few very simple ideas ...

~   If you have a lot of garlic freeze some separated into cloves or, even better, purée peeled garlic with twice its volume of oil and then freeze. The wonder of this is that once frozen it is still soft enough to scrape off a little when needed. Do not store garlic in oil in the fridge for any longer that a few days or you might get botulism, best to freeze it asap.
~   Put peeled garlic cloves into a bottle of Vodka (you will probably have to drink a little Vodka fist to make room) and keep it in the freezer. Use the resulting Garlic Vodka in sauces, Bloody Marys or peculiar Martinis.
~   Slice peeled garlic cloves very, very thinly and uniformly, separate the slices and fry in a couple of centimetres of hot oil (160ºC/325°F) to light golden. This should take about 5 minutes, adjust the heat if they are going too fast. Drain well, cool well and then store for up to a week (and probably  lot longer!) in an airtight container. These are a traditional garnish in Thailand but are good sprinkled on all sorts of dishes.



how-to-roast-garlic

Roasted Garlic


Roasting garlic makes it soft, buttery, sweet, mellow and also makes the house smell gorgeous. In fact it’s one of those smells, like baking bread or good coffee that tends to beguile people. Read here for how to roast garlic and make a nice smell together with lots of ideas for using the lovely stuff.
  
how-to-use-smoked-garlic

Smoked Garlic


I have actually smoked garlic myself and it’s not difficult if you are into smoking but it is easier still to buy it from your nearest interesting food shop.

Use smoked garlic wherever you would use un-smoked garlic but it is particularly good with potatoes, cheddar and strong beefy dishes.


how-to-use-black-garlic

Black Garlic


This is the best food “discovery” I have made in ... years and years! It is wonderful stuff and I never expected a whole new ingredient at my age!

It is somewhat difficult to get hold of, for a while Tesco stocked it but usually I have it delivered from Amazon. Recently I learned that Sainsbury’s stock it but I don’t know if it is every store. I urge you, however, to get yourself some even if it’s not an easy thing to do, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I have written a lot about this too, see ...

~  Black Garlic
~  How to Use Black Garlic
~  
"The latest 'it' ingredient in chefs'kitchens"


Enjoy!









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2 comments:

Eb Gargano said...

Yay - I love garlic! Though I am still yet to try smoked garlic or black garlic - I will have to remedy that soon! Eb x

Charlotte Oates said...

I'm seeing so many delicious recipes using wild garlic around at the moment but I've no idea where to start looking for it. I really need to read up on it sometime.