For me anyway it’s bliss, and our garden has just produced a healthy harvest of Duganski & Oregon Blue. It was touch and go there for a while, but it’s back and we’re thinking garlic feast. Some might say beast.
Turn the page if you have an aversion to garlic. One of my friends does and when she comes for supper I have to rethink it all, which has been good for me. I don’t have to cook with garlic, but take it off the table and for a while I’m a little neurotic and culinarily brain dead. Then, if the pressure’s on, I get over it and make a decent meal. Plus, I want Gillian at my table as often as possible. Always remember that my friend.
It’s not that I use it constantly, because I don’t, really, I don’t. I never put garlic in my milk or coffee for example, but if you have a suggestion in that regard let me know. Right away. But seriously. Garlic’s always in my back pocket along with onions, tomatoes and anchovies – my security blanket ingredients.
I’m a little over the moon over garlic at the moment, partly because we thought we might not be able to grow it again after a mysterious rot plagued our entire crop a couple of years ago. Now I’m celebrating its return and invite you to howl over the moon with me. (The moon, howling and garlic go together, right?) This is the time, the perfect season, for a garlic fete.
Get freshly harvested garlic at Farmer’s Markets right now.
Roast several heads of garlic and you’ll have the main ingredient for several garlicky indulgences.
Roasted Garlic: Cut heads in half, or trim off one end so that a bit of the raw garlic is exposed. Drizzle the entire head with plenty of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place in a small ovenproof container with a lid, or wrap tightly in foil. Roast at 350º for 35 – 45 minutes. Mine took closer to 45. Don’t let it burn, because it can and it’s unpleasant.
When it’s done garlic is creamy soft. After it’s cooled squeeze the garlic right out of its own skin into a small bowl or straight onto a piece of warm bread. Depending on size, two heads of garlic will yield 1/3 – 1/2 C after roasting. Then it’s time to play.
Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing: 1/2 C mayo, 2 T lemon juice, 1 or 2 smashed anchovy fillets, 1/2 C milk and 4 or 5 cloves of roasted garlic. Add more milk for a thinner dressing. Stir together thoroughly and spoon over a salad of just lettuce and fresh dill.
Roasted Garlic Crostonis: toast thinly sliced and olive-oiled bread in the oven, on the grill or in a pan on the stove top. Remove from heat and simply spread a smear of roasted garlic on top. Be happy.
Garlicky Herbed Butter: Stir 1 entire head of roasted garlic into 1 cube of softened butter along with a tablespoon of fresh herbs of your choosing. Oregano and thyme are superb. Spread this garlic butter on crostinis hot off the grill – the best garlic bread! – or, use a dollop on almost anything you’ve grilled or roasted, like corn on the cob, a piece of chicken, half a tomato, potatoes, onions, . . . you get the idea.
Garlicky croutons: leftover garlic butter crostinis make superb croutons. Just put them back in a 350º oven for 5 or 10 minutes and let them crisp up a bit more. Break into small pieces and add to salad. Store in air tight zip lock bags.
Roasted Garbanzos & Garlic = Hummus: this was inspired by a recipe for garbanzos and chard. I roasted a 25 ounce can of garbanzo beans along with 8 peeled whole cloves of garlic (10 would have been better), 1 bay leaf, a sprinkle of salt & pepper and plenty of olive oil – at least a cup. Roast in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes at 350º until garlic is just tender and beans are golden.
Remove the crispy bay leaf, pour beans and olive oil directly into food processor or blender. Add more roasted garlic if you like, more olive oil as needed, one or two teaspoons of lemon juice (not essential) or warm water, and 1 – 2 teaspoons of ground cumin. Salt & pepper to taste. Blend until smooth, adding additional oil or herbs as needed. Serve with a little extra olive oil on top, a sprinkle of cumin and plenty of toasted pita. Hummus on warm pita bread with a slice of cucumber on top and a pinch of dill .. . so good.
Having carried on and on about it, I have to say that last night’s potluck in Gillian’s honor was without onion or garlic and was fabulous. Garlic may be bliss for some of us, but there are plenty of possibilities without it and friends come first.