Garlic: A Love-Hate Relationship
Like generations before us, we seem to have a love-hate relationship with garlic.
For centuries garlic has been the bogeyman of ingredients. The upper classes thumbed their noses at its strong smell and considered it food fit only for laborers. Consequently, garlic was assigned strength- and endurance-building attributes. Egyptian slaves built the pyramids on a heavily garlic-fortified diet.
Some cultures have embraced garlic more fully than others. Southern European cooking uses it with a flourish, while in northern Europe, it is used only sparingly and is cooked more thoroughly to take the sting off its hot flavor.
Garlic is the strongest-flavored, most assertive member of the lily family, which includes leeks, chives, onions, and shallots.
What to look for when shopping for garlic:
Look for firm dry heads of garlic.
Store them whole and unbroken in a cool, dry, dark location. They’ll stay for about two months.
To peel garlic, place the clove under the flat side of a chef’s knife and gently press down with the ball of your hand, lightly crushing the clove. The skin will split, allowing you to pull it off the clove more easily.
Making the Odorous Less Onerous
Cooking garlic mellows its hot flavor, transforming it into something savory, earthy, and nutty. Once cooked, garlic infuses deep flavor to soups and sauces and pairs wonderfully with tomatoes, parsley, onions, and ginger. The natural sugars in garlic cause it to brown nicely in butter or olive oil.
This method for peeling garlic is as quick, easy, and efficient as they come!
Garlic is used in so many dishes it is extremely useful to be proficient at peeling it quickly and with the smallest amount of mess possible.
1. Remove a garlic clove from the bulb. Interestingly, in other countries the garlic bulb is called a foot. That said, remove as many garlic toes as needed for your recipe and set aside.
2. Then, use a knife to cut the “toenail” off of the garlic clove. Do not cut all of the way through the peel. Cut through the garlic to the peel on the other side, and then pull the clove back, away from the knife. You will have peeled off a large piece of the garlic peel.
3. Then, place the flat side of the knife on the garlic clove. With a quick and somewhat firm chop, hit the knife with your palm. Do not press so hard that the garlic is completely crushed. Only press hard enough that the skin is loosened from the garlic to allow you to easily remove the skin. The garlic should maintain its shape. Crushing the garlic completely will cause it to not only be difficult to work with and sticky, but to oxidize and take on a bitter flavor.
4. This garlic is perfect to be thrown into a stew or chopped further.
How to Roast Garlic
Garlic, slowly roasted in the oven, loses its sharp bite and turns remarkably soft and mellow.
Roasted cloves are nutty, rich, slightly sweet and oh-so versatile.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Cut about ˝ inch off the top of the head of garlic. Peel off any loose, papery skin.
2. Place garlic in a small ovenproof baking dish, cut side up.
3. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
4. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in the oven until cut side is lightly browned and cloves are very soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
5. Remove, and allow garlic to cool slightly before squeezing the garlic paste from the cloves.