And, Garlic Makes It Good!
"Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French.
Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek.
Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good." - Alice May Brock
As you know, I am a fan of garlic ( in spite of how I was raised). I celebrate it. There are even times I “feel” like garlic. Last night, a garlic-loving, gardening friend gave me a bag of the wonderful garlic he grows nearby. After planting only 1,642 cloves, he ran out of room. Lucky me! I now have an abundance of garlic and changed my plans for the weekend. I made time for a second-planting of garlic, even though it is a bit late.
I feel that passion my for food could not exist without garlic. If I close my eyes and breathe in the fragrance of garlic roasting in the oven, it transports me. I like to imagine I am spending a glorious day in Tuscany. It's filled with red wine, crusty bread, and of course, garlic. As much as I'd love to travel right now, my kitchen and deck are both more safe and less expensive.
I am sharing two recipes today. Both work well if you need a garlic "fix". The first is a great all-around use for garlic, Roasted Garlic Oil.
Add equal parts of garlic and extra virgin olive oil into food processor, mix ingredients until garlic is a fine chop.
Put ingredients in a sauce pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes.
Do not let garlic brown.
Keep your garlic-infused oil in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
I use it often through out the week to add garlic to most dishes. Toss with roasted veggies, slather a good dollop onto meat before roasting in place of fresh, and of course, garlic bread. Toss the oil if not used within 2 weeks. Best to make in small batches.
Food safety tip: Do not store it at room temperature. The combination of the low-acid garlic, the exclusion of air (by mixing with oil), and room-temperature storage can support the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Best to immediately put it in your freezer and use as needed. To help you use it quickly, try this version of crusty garlic bread.
Crusty Garlic Bread
You start with a good loaf of French or Italian bread, I'll recommend whole grain. Spread a good dollop on to the crusty bread. I sprinkle with good parmesan or Romano cheese. You then broil the bread until it is lightly golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
If you do not have or want to make the roasted garlic oil, try this version:
Drizzle each slice with “EVOO” (that is a chef-ism for extra-virgin olive oil). You then broil or grill the bread until it is lightly golden brown. Then immediately rub a clove of fresh garlic across bread and lightly season with a sprinkle of parmesan. Enjoy!
Aglio e Olio
This is a traditional pasta dish in Naples, Aglio e Olio, which literally means olive oil and garlic in Italian. This dish is made by sautéing sliced garlic in olive oil, sometimes with the addition of red pepper flakes, or anchovies. Add pasta and toss to coat well.
1 lb uncooked pasta. I like fettuccine.
¾ cup olive oil
1 head garlic peeled and sliced
2 tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp salt or to taste
½ tsp pepper
½ cup parsley fresh, chopped
½ cup good parm or Romano, freshly grated
Optional: 1 Tbsp minced anchovies
INSTRUCTIONS 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, or slightly underdone.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat.
3. Bring the oil to a good simmer and add the garlic slices and the red pepper flakes and stir. 4. Cook until the garlic turns slightly golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
(Toss in minced anchovie here if you choose to use and omit the salt.)
5. Lower the heat to a medium-low and add the cooked pasta, drained and the parsley and toss. If the pasta is too dry add some of the pasta water, about half a cup.
6. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese.
A few tips:
As the olive oil heats up, keep a close eye on it. Extra virgin olive oil has a very low smoke point, and can burn easily to give off a bitter flavor.
Garlic should be fresh. More is better in this recipe!
Red pepper flakes are a must, but add heat! Use as much or as little as you like.
In this dish, parsley is not a garnish and only fresh will do. The light, grassy flavor pairs well with the garlic and oil.
Season to taste with pepper and as you are able with salt, should you need to restrict it. A helpful tip is to add salt after you have your portion on your plate.
Parmesan is a must, anchovies optional. I'm a fan but I don't add them every time. I need to be in the mood.
In Good Health, Barbara