It’s just that time of the year in Israel, folks. Wonderful, stinky fresh garlic is in the shuk. I’m in the shuk too, packing as much garlic into my little wheeled shopping cart as I can. I expect I’ll be writing about garlic every March till I’m too old to type anymore. And cooking it till I’ve died and gone to garlic heaven.
The Little One rolls her eyes and asks me not to buy any more garlic because I hang it up to dry in the laundry room. The smell of it drying penetrates into the bathroom and makes her feel like a salami, she says.
My question is, how does she know what a salami feels like?
In her mysterious teenage way, she refuses to say. However, I notice that she does eat anything I cook with garlic in it. I suppose it’s in her genes.
And this year, there’s garlic with some enormous cloves in the heads. Right now the thin sheath that protects each clove is still tender and juicy, so I remove only the papery purple peel. Sorry about the alliteration.
Once my garlic is minced to a paste, I add salt and olive oil – some fresh, chopped za’atar and thyme and chives and mayhap a leaf or two of rocket from my little potted plants – and and sit down with a warm pita to sop it all up, drop by drop. And that’s lunch.
Actually, I’m not sorry – I love alliteration.
Garlic oil keeps in the fridge for up to a month.
I did have mercy on the Little One and hung up the latest batch outside on our tiny balcony. Here it is, looking strangely shy and head-hanging among the anemones and nasturtiums. For such an aggressive herb, that is.
Another delicious thing to eat is garlic confit. All the fire goes out of the cloves as they poach in herbed olive oil over two or three hours. You have to put a little fire back in. The result is a delicious relish for roast chicken, a cheese platter, a sturdy salad, or bruschetta. Love garlic? Try this.
4 heads of garlic, cloves cleaned and peeled if necessary. Leave the peels on if garlic is fresh and juicy; peel if not.
1-1/2 cups olive oil
4 sprigs of thyme
2 medium bay leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds – or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 allspice berry
freshly-ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 300°F – 150 °C.
Place the herbs in an ovenproof casserole.
Place the garlic cloves over the herbs and douse them with the olive oil.
Scatter the coarse salt all and grind black pepper generously.
Cover the casserole with tin foil and bake for 2-1/2 hours or until the garlic is very tender.
Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Have a look at previous posts about fresh garlic:
- Garlicky Crisp-Skinned Potatoes A good recipe for Passover.
- Oven-Roasted Garlic
- Fresh Garlic Oil and Garlic Soup