Did your garden have a bumper crop of garlic? Or maybe you bought a whole bulb when you only needed one clove? Here are smart things you can do with all those garlic cloves.
As an ingredient, garlic divides us. Its intense, earthy bite and unmistakable fragrance foment strong opinions. You’re either with garlic or you’re against it. Some home cooks see it in a recipe’s ingredient list and move right along or omit the stinking rose altogether. (Photo: Pixabay)
I am not talking to those people. I’m talking to my people, the vampire repellers, who will double or triple any listed quantity as we move about quite happily in our cloud of allium fumes. That famous chicken-with-40-cloves-of-garlic recipe? Yeah, that one is for us. We’re loud, we’re proud, our kitchens have a certain smell.
There may be disagreement about the flavor and aroma of garlic, but one thing that isn’t in question is the plant’s health-boosting bona fides. Without question, garlic is good for you. In folk medicine, garlic has been used to treat conditions as varied as asthma and the common cold. Today, research supports the addition of garlic to a heart-healthy diet.
Regardless of what it can or cannot do for your wellbeing, garlic is prized for what it does to the dishes you cook with it. Garlic can be pungent or subtle, savory or sweet, hot or mild, depending on how you handle it, but no other ingredient can replace its distinctive character.
Most of the garlic you find in the supermarket is the cured softneck variety. It will give you consistent results in your cooking, but more and more farmers markets are offering different varieties with slightly different flavor profiles. Knowing these different types of garlic will give you a headstart on buying the right kind for your recipe.
So stock up when you can, and try your hand at a few of these ideas and recipes to get even more garlic into your life.
Even the garlic averse can get behind garlic confit, if you can sneak it onto their plates. That’s a heap of peeled cloves covered in oil and cooked on low until the natural sugars caramelize and the garlic softens to a spreadable, buttery texture. You can spread it on bread, swirl it into salad dressing, use it on a pizza, add it to your pasta dishes and more. If you want similar results with less oil and a slightly different technique, give this roasted head of garlic a spin.
Did you know you can turn an unloved and unglamourous cup of jarred mayonnaise into a sauce most people will happily eat with nothing more than smashed garlic and a little lemon juice? It’s true. Whisk them together, call it garlic aioli, and serve it with any kind of roasted or fried potato.
Soup is a natural stage for garlic to strut its stuff. Sure, most soup calls for at least a clove of garlic, but some soups make garlic the starring ingredient. Try Sopa de Ajo, or Spanish garlic soup. Eight cloves not enough to scratch your garlic itch? Here’s a recipe for 20-clove Garlic Soup. Still not enough? Fine. This recipe for Elephant Garlic Soup with Dungeness Crab calls for a full pound.
Garlic also loves to be with vegetables. Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic and Parmesan is an easy, healthy garlic delivery system. Here, whole cloves are tossed with cauliflower before roasting in a hot oven. It’s finished off with a flurry of grated cheese. Slightly bitter, robust broccoli rabe also has an affinity for garlic–you rarely see it without a few cloves hanging around. This classic recipe for broccoli rabe with roasted garlic is perfect as a side, on a sandwich, or mixed with pasta. Golden brown garlic chips fall like fragrant flavor glitter as a finishing touch for this Roasted Asparagus Salad.
Of course, garlic is a classic accent for meat dishes as well. Try some Garlic Buffalo Wing Sauce for your next party appetizer. Garlic and rosemary make this recipe for Florentine-Style Steak a barbecue stand out. An impressive Lemon and Garlic Roasted Leg of Lamb would be a welcome centerpiece at a holiday table.
Though it’s true that garlic rarely makes an appearance at dessert, bakers aren’t left out of the fun. Roasted Garlic and Cheddar Biscuits, like all biscuits, are impossible to pass up. If you’re in possession of a lively sourdough starter, you could make this crackling Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Bread to serve at dinner or simply slather with ample softened butter as a satisfying carb-forward snack.