Halloween Eve seems like a good time to post about garlic, as the deliciously stinky bulb has a reputation for repelling vampires. But Bram Stoker isn't the only one proclaiming the benefits of this herb - WebMD lists it as a preventative measure or treatment for all types of cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, tick bites, asthma, fever, headaches, cold and flu, warts, gout, and bronchitis, just to name a few! But the health benefits are merely just a side note to the fact that it is the most fragrant and flavorful, widely used, and delicious herb there is. There is barely a savory recipe that doesn't begin with the sizzle of garlic in oil - a step so simple, and yet capable of luring almost anyone from any other room of the house to poke his or her head in the kitchen and ask, "hey, whatchu cooking?"
Garlic is an every-season herb. Although it is planted in Autumn and harvested throughout the summer, it is typically available all year long, in even the most unprepared kitchen or under-stocked bodega. But as the days get crisper and the evenings darker, it seems more appropriate than ever to turn to the deeply satisfying flavor of garlic, roasting with hearty vegetables or large cuts of meat, simmering on a warm stove and accompanying the cozy comfort foods of Fall and Winter.
Here are a few recipes with garlic as the star, which I'd love to try out in the coming weeks. And below, instructions for simple roasted garlic - the simplest way to enjoy it. I like mine smashed onto crusty bread and eaten with gooey brie. And if the vampires show tomorrow, I like to know that I'm prepared.
This recipe for Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, by Nigella Lawson, sounds classic and cozy - if nothing else, her recipe is worth a read for the loving way she writes about food.
I think I'll make this Gemelli with Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower for football-watching this weekend.
There is perhaps no more perfect pairing for garlic than white wine and butter. Here is Martha Stewart's recipe for mussels with white wine and garlic sauce, a simple and classic dish that leaves extra garlicky flavor to dip your bread into.
- One (or more) whole head of garlic
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Remove the most papery outer edges of the garlic skin
- With a sharp knife, slice about 1/4 - 1/2 of an inch off the top of the garlic head, revealing the flesh of the cloves inside.
- Put garlic cut side up on a baking sheet and drizzle liberally with olive oil, about 1 Tbsp for each garlic head.
- Roast for about 30 minutes, until garlic is fragrant and the cloves are soft.
- Allow garlic to cool, and then use a small spoon or butter knife to remove each clove from its shell - or squeeze the outside with your fingers to slide each clove out.
Use the roasted cloves in pastas, salad dressings, marinades...or crush the cloves on some crusty bread and serve with cheese...mmm...
(all photos, Jamie Grill photography)