Garlic - Head and Cloves Above

Garlic is a gift to any meal you put together. Simply rubbing a cut clove on a piece of toasted Italian bread and topping it with sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and a sprig of basil is enough to make anyone swoon. Hmm. We might have to make that for lunch today. What’s most important is that you get the most out of your garlic so here’s a variety of tips we’ve learned that we hope you’ll find helpful.

Buying & Storing Garlic
Just like all produce, there’s a season for garlic. You’ve probably noticed in the dead of winter, garlic doesn’t look so great. That’s because the season is typically late summer through fall. But you have to make the best of what’s available all year round. What’s most important is to choose a head of garlic that’s firm and doesn’t look like it’s been sitting in a root cellar for too long with green sprouts popping out everywhere. Once you bring it home, let it breathe. Don’t enclose it in a bag or container as it may mold or sprout. And try to use it up in a week or so to prevent it from drying out. If you find your time is running out, roast the garlic and keep it in a jar with olive oil in the refrigerator until you need it. You’ll get the added benefit of having garlic oil on hand for drizzling on pasta or dipping with fresh bread.

Roasting Garlic
The spreadable buttery consistency you get when you roast garlic is nothing short of a culinary miracle. The flavor becomes more subdued but no less transformative folded into a pasta dish, spread on a sandwich or blitzed into your favorite sauces and dips. And it couldn’t be easier. Take a whole head (or two), slice off the bottom so can squeeze that precious roasted garlic out of the skin, wrap it in tin foil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about an hour. We also sometimes break the cloves apart, leave them in the skin and toss with some olive oil, carrots and rosemary then roast them all together. What an incredible smell coming from our oven! Conserve the cloves you don’t use in the refrigerator, preferable in olive oil as mentioned above.

Garlic Chips
Turn a salad into an event by sprinkling Garlic Chips on them. We admit to finding ourselves moving the spinach aside with our fork to hunt down those crispy, salty bites. They are also terrific on top of a plate of pasta or a bowl of Ramen or Pho. When in need of a crunch and a garlic kick that’s milder than raw but more bold than roasted, Garlic Chips are the way to go.

Here’s how: peel your garlic and slice really thin with a mandolin (watch those fingers!) or a sharp knife (again, watch those fingers!). Heat about 2 cups of oil in a pan with the garlic slices (ensuring the oil doesn’t go more than about halfway up the pan to avoid spitting oil). Watch the garlic like a hawk so it doesn’t burn. When the slices becomes golden brown, scoop them out with a slotted spoon, place them on a paper towel and lightly sprinkle with sea salt. You can also sprinkle with dried herbs or spices if you want to mix things up.

Pickled Garlic
It’s no secret that we are quick pickling fanatics and giving garlic a little dip in a vinegar bath is no exception. You can pickle a whole jar of garlic or mix it in with a variety of vegetables. Try our Italian Quick Pickles with some garlic in it or whatever you enjoy pickling. Serve pickled garlic like you would with other pickles but don’t go crazy as it’s still garlic and relatively strong.