I’m counting down all week to the Great Gilroy Garlic Cookoff this Saturday, July 27! If you haven’t heard, I’ll be tweeting live from the Cookoff Stage at the 35th Gilroy Garlic Festival with all the action! You won’t want to miss it. It’s one of the greatest cookoffs–I should know . . . I won First Place last year with my Crispy Pork Belly with Caramelized Onion and Fig Agrodolce and Creamy Polenta. I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to be on stage again. Even though I won’t be competing, I get to experience the excitement and frenzy of the competition without the stress. And the festival is so much fun. I’m looking forward to spending some time checking out the entertainment, artists and other garlicky offerings of the 35-year old festival.
Remember, if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can watch the live Twitter feed right here on my blog (right there on the right!).
In the meanwhile, I’m counting down my Top Five Things to Love About Garlic! Here is number 3:
Roasting garlic totally transforms its flavor. Raw garlic is powerful, pungent and has quite a “bite” to it. Garlic in its raw form is perfectly delicious and an absolute necessity in the kitchen, but sometimes you just want a more mellow flavor, right?
Roasting garlic takes away the “bite,” leaving in its place a soft, smooth, almost creamy gel-like garlic “smudge.” It’s simply sublime and full of garlic goodness, yet mellow and slightly sweet in a savory kind of way. Roasting brings out the sweetness, caused by a reaction of amino acids bonding with sugars (the “Maillard reaction”) (5ensesmag.com), which is similar to what happens when you caramelize onions.
The extreme example of this is Black Garlic (here’s a recipe using Black Garlic, along with a little information on the odd-colored bulb), in which the sweet and savory content of the garlic has been processed and concentrated over the course of a month, with the flavor resembling non-sour Balsamic vinegar, or a concentrated molasses.
Any-who . . . I didn’t mean to go off on a science lesson. Let’s get to some yummy garlic goodness.
Want to really go nuts? Roast your garlic in olive oil and get a two-fer. Roasted garlic and roasted garlic oil.
Homemade Roasted Garlic Oil
- 4-6 fresh sprigs of thyme
- 8 heads of garlic, tops sliced off
- 4 cups olive oil
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Place the thyme sprigs and garlic heads, cut-side down, in a medium sized baking dish and cover with olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil, then place the dish on a baking sheet. Roast in 300 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and, using kitchen tongs, remove garlic and place on a paper towel to drain. Pour olive oil through a fine mesh strainer and keep in a seal tight container or jar. It should last about a month.
After the garlic has cooled, squeeze the cloves out of each bulb. Keep them whole or mash them with a fork. Use in a recipe, or simply spread on toasted bread. The roasted garlic should keep, refrigerated, for a couple of weeks.
Bonus: Your kitchen will smell fantastic!
Recipe adapted from epicurious.