I’ve got creative recipes for cooking with garlic during summer:
1. Whole Roasted Garlic
Slow-roasting whole garlic bulbs in the oven draws out their inherent sweetness, caramelizing the sugars and infusing the kitchen with their heady aroma. This takes about an hour, and I like to use Ellie Krieger’s method: slice about 1/4 inch from the tops and place them in an oven safe dish, drizzle with olive oil, cover with foil for half the cooking and remove the foil during the last half hour for a bit of caramelization. To serve, allow diners to squeeze the cloves from their skins (there’s something strangely gratifying about this), and spread over grilled bread. In Chez Panisse Vegetables, Alice Waters suggests adding roasted garlic to sauces and soups. It’s also delicious worked into creamy mashed potatoes.
You might have heard of aioli, the made-from-scratch mayonnaise composed of smashed garlic cloves, egg yolks, and olive oil? Well, a rouille is aioli’s fiery cousin, a homemade mayonnaise flavored with saffron and red pepper. In France, rouille is a condiment served with the fish stew bouillabaisse, but this week on la Domestique I’ll be whipping up a batch of rouille to accompany homemade french fries. Everyone needs a killer condiment in the recipe arsenal, and a well-made rouille is guaranteed to impress.
3. Garlic Soup
The Europeans have long embraced garlic, believing it is good for you and using it much like we do chicken soup here in the U.S. Garlic soup can be light and brothy (like José Andrés’ life-changing garlic soup I wrote about from Jaleo) or full-bodied and nourishing. Mario Batali’s Sopa de Ajo recipe from Spain: A Culinary Road Trip, begins with 6 cloves of sautéed garlic, building flavor with stock and pimentón, thickened with bread, and finished with a poached egg. In the book, Batali describes his garlic soup as, “Really simple, really satisfying, really good.” You don’t have to wait for a sick day to make garlic soup, why not try something new?
Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip made with pureed chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), plenty of garlic, and lemon juice. Smooth and velvety, hummus is satisfying and rich in flavor. Serve hummus with pita bread or vegetable crudités, or make it a meal on its own like Yotam Ottolenghi does in his recipe for Hummus with Ful from Plenty. Ful is a dish of mashed lava beans flavored with olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and garlic. In the recipe, individual plates of hummus are topped with ful, then sprinkled with paprika and plenty of parsley. Traditionally, hard boiled eggs and raw sliced onions are served on the side. Hummus with Ful is a hearty Middle Eastern breakfast, brunch, or lunch.
5. Garlic Shrimp
Sauteéd shrimp bathed in olive oil (or butter) and garlic is a simple pleasure I never tire of, especially during summer. Most of the time, I just warm olive oil in a skillet, toss in a few cloves of crushed garlic, and add the shrimp. Within a couple of minutes, the shrimp are cooked and ready to serve over pasta or rice for a laid back summer supper (with a crisp glass of white wine). This recipe for Shrimp in Garlic Sauce based on a popular Spanish tapa is finished with lemon juice and a handful of parsley. Or try this recipe for Spicy Shrimp with Garlic Butter.
6. Garlic Croutons
In Chez Panisse Vegetables, Alice Waters writes, “Good bread moistened with olive oil and enlivened with garlic is almost always on the Chez Panisse menu in one form or another.” Country style levain is sliced and grilled, then rubbed with raw garlic. Cut the bread into croutons and serve it with the first ripe tomatoes of summer and fresh herbs, or with grilled mushrooms, or with anchovies. Use garlic croutons as a canvas for a simple, rustic appetizer made with whatever beautiful ingredients you’ve got on hand.
7. Baby Squid with Garlic, Olives, Tomatoes, and Parsley
According to Patricia Wells in her book, Vegetable Harvest, “this dish comes straight from the Mediterranean.” Squid tentacles and bodies sliced into rings are tossed with raw garlic, cherry tomatoes, olives, and a generous amount of parsley and seasoned with flour de sel. It’s an easy, breezy summer salad that should be served with crusty bread for sopping up the briny juices.
8. Garlicky Vinaigrette for Salads
Fresh garlic harvested in season is mild and sweet enough to add raw to salad dressings. In this punchy recipe for Garlic, Oregano, and Lemon Vinaigrette, minced garlic is tossed with anchovy, red pepper flakes, lemon peel, fresh oregano, olive oil and lemon juice. Use it to dress hearty greens like kale or spinach. Garlic is a key ingredient in Caesar Salad dressing. Try minced garlic in red wine vinegar based dressings or grainy mustard vinaigrette.
9. Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
Ina Garten’s recipe for roast chicken with forty cloves of garlic from Barefoot in Paris may sound insane, but this technique of stewing whole cloves yields sweet, soft garlic flavor rather than the aggressive punch of minced fresh garlic. A chicken cut into eight pieces goes into the pot with the forty cloves of garlic, Cognac, white wine, and thyme leaves and is cooked for half an hour, till tender and infused with the garlic. It’s one of those simple but surprisingly luxurious recipes that’s especially suited to entertaining.
Pesto could be the mascot of summer – a vibrant green sauce made by crushing garlic and basil with a mortar and pestle (or in a food processor) with pine nuts, and olive oil, then stirring in grated Parmesan. Pesto can be frozen in cubes or used immediately as a sauce for pasta, potato salad, and roast fish or meats (especially lamb). It’s a balance of fresh, licorice scented herbs, pungent garlic, nuts, silky olive oil, and salty, tangy cheese. Don’t let summer pass you buy without making a batch of pesto.
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