Wednesday, September 05, 2007

For The Love of Garlic

I think about garlic all the time. How can I use more garlic more in my diet? Is it best to mince or thinly slice? Should I juice garlic? If I eat too much raw garlic will I develop an ulcer? What's the deal with all of garlic's medicinal qualities?

I love the way the dry, brittle layer of skin cracks when you squeeze it. I love how garlic breaks apart into those individual sections that you can always reassemble back into the whole if need be.

When I come across garlic in the store, I never buy the 5-packs that come in the pantyhose packaging. When I buy garlic I have to feel it in my hands. No plastic netting shall come between me and garlic! I caress my fingers over their shape, close my eyes, bring the garlic up to my nose for a whiff. It's a system I have that allows me to instantly and accurately determine the good heads from the bad.

For the first few years of our marriage my wife was vehemently opposed to garlic. I was left wondering if we would make it as a couple. To her, nothing befouled an apartment more than the odor of cooked garlic. There was a winter night a few years ago when I was cooking a batch of garlic-laden apple burgers on a George Foreman grill in our kitchen. She was in her first trimester of pregnancy and very sensitive to smells. She walked into the kitchen and was immediately affronted by a huge waft of garlic mist.

She said nothing, just locked herself into the bathroom and started to cry.

It wasn't until I tried this recipe on her that she changed her mind about garlic. When cooked, garlic loses its sharpness and strong taste. When roasted with olive oil and soy sauce, garlic is sweet, mild and has the spreadable consistency of butter. I roast two heads every shabbos: one for Friday night and one for lunch on Saturday. We usually eat the whole peeled cloves, spread with a knife on challah with some quality green olives and a good hummus. While the garlic comes out piping hot, smooth and creamy, the olive oil becomes infused with the flavors of rosemary and soy sauce.

This is the kind of recipe you have to careful with because it is easy to eat an entire loaf of bread with it.

Simple Roasted Head of Garlic

This recipe can easily be doubled, or tripled, or maybe even quadrupled.

2 heads garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons tamari
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place head (the garlic's, not your own) in a small baking dish. Slather each head with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon tamari, and 1/4 teaspoon thyme.

Bake for 35 minutes, until cloves are meltingly tender. Serve warm.


Seth said...

You, clearly, are garlic.

Steve said...

You have to try this recipe or else we aren't friends anymore.

I'm serious. This dish will change your life. Once you make garlic this way, there is never any going back.

Seth said...

I've made this dish Pyle. I am this dish.

Karen said...

We will definitely try your recipe, Steve. Like you, I love the sweetness of cooked, especially roasted, garlic. I'm very interested to see what kind of character the soy sauce gives it.

Steve said...

Oh, it gives it some character all right!