garlic

photo Marina Oliphant

Garlic is a wonderful, strong tasting bulb that belongs to the onion family. It is an essential component of many cuisines. Australian garlic is harvested in late spring to mid summer, so have a look in the market for firm, moist heads of garlic to enjoy right now. When it is picked fresh, garlic has a subtle flavour, which becomes more pungent as it dries out. Green garlic shoots are available at the start of the season; they look like small garlic bulbs with green stalks and are considered a delicacy, but are not available for long, so try them if you are lucky enough to see them.

An interesting type of garlic has become available recently. You may have seen black garlic in specialist food stores. It is garlic that has undergone fermentation. During the process, sugars and amino acids that are present in raw garlic produce a dark coloured substance, which is responsible for its unique colour. Its flavour is sweet, subtle and complex. Whilst it can be used in place of raw garlic in most recipes, a simple dish of scrambled eggs showcases its flavour, as a simple and elegant supper.

By roasting garlic, you can also change its flavour, with the sugars concentrating to produce a sweeter result. Roasted garlic doesn’t have the pungency of raw garlic, as the chemical reaction, which occurs when raw garlic is cut, cannot occur once the garlic is roasted. I have used roasted garlic in my aioli recipe for a more subtle, sweet and complex flavour. This is for anyone who doesn’t enjoy ‘garlic breath’.

For hard core garlic lovers, nothing beats garlic bread. Start with a great artisan sourdough baguette and reinvent this classic. Indulge in its buttery garlicky flavours, and be generous with the filling so that it drips down your chin.

And to combat the dreaded ‘garlic breath’, simply eat a salad or an apple afterwards. The browning enzymes in these raw foods transform the chemicals that persist in the mouth after a good dose of garlic into odourless molecules, which is probably why some people swear by eating a sprig of fresh parsley too.

roasted garlic aioli

photo Marina Oliphant

 

Roasted garlic gives aioli a more subtle, sweet and complex flavour. You could also try this recipe with black garlic (no need to roast the garlic first).

1 head of garlic

1 egg yolk

150ml mild flavoured oil (olive, grapeseed or vegetable)

lemon juice to taste

sea salt and black pepper to season

 

Preheat oven to 180C fan forced.

Wrap garlic in foil and cook for about 45 minutes, until very soft when pierced with a skewer.

Remove from oven, unwrap and allow to cool a little, before removing the garlic cloves from their papery skins. They should pop out easily with a gentle squeeze.

Place 8 cloves in a food processor with egg yolk and a pinch of salt. Blend. With the motor running, slowly add the oil, a little at a time until you have a smooth creamy consistency, like mayonnaise.

Add lemon juice to taste and season with black pepper.

 

Makes 1 cup.

 

note: leftover roasted garlic can be stored in a container in the fridge and used in place of raw garlic in recipes.

 

Scrambled eggs with smoked ocean trout and black garlic

photo Marina Oliphant

To enjoy the unique flavour of black garlic, make a simple recipe of scrambled eggs paired with delicious ocean trout for an extravagent brunch, light lunch or supper.

4 eggs

2 tbsp milk or cream

sea salt and black pepper to taste

3 cloves black garlic, peeled and sliced

2 tbsp butter

4 slices smoked ocean trout

4 thick slices toasted sourdough

fresh chervil or parsley to garnish

 

Break eggs into a medium bowl and lightly whisk with milk or cream. Add black garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in a medium non stick pan, add eggs and gently cook over low heat until soft curds start to form. Use a wooden spoon to stir the eggs to distribute and allow the remaining egg to cook. Remove from the heat when the curds have just formed and the mixture is still wet and glossy looking.

Pile onto toast and serve with slices of ocean trout, Garnish with fresh chervil and extra salt and pepper.

 

serves 2.

Garlic Bread

photo Marina Oliphant

For great garlic bread, start with a good quality baguette.

4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced

125g soft butter

½ (half) cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

1 good quality baguette

 

Preheat oven to 180C fan forced.

Mix garlic with butter and parsley to blend.

Make vertical cuts into the baguette, three quarters of the way down, at 2cm intervals all the way along.

Spread generous amounts of garlic butter on all cut faces of the bread. Spread any leftover butter over the top of the baguette.

Wrap tightly in foil and bake in oven for 30 minutes, until the butter has melted into the bread. If desired, open up the foil and bake for a further 5 minutes until the top is golden and crisp.

Serve immediately.

 

Serves 4.

photo Marina Oliphant

 

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