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Fresh, French, smoked and black garlic

Black garlic

During the past weekend I convinced my beloved husband to go on garlic hunt! No, we didn’t literally pick them but instead I hunted them down in the city and the surroundings. The catch comes here, a post only about garlic.

I love garlic! I eat garlic al year around but somehow the autumn is really the season that I associate with the herb. Maybe it is because of al the dinners we have enjoyed with Sunday chicken tucked with as many as possible cloves. Or the amazing lamb steaks my father made with lamb brought up just around the corner from where we lived. The lambs brought up at Haväng and the coastline in the south of Sweden taste fantastic with a hint of wild thyme and salt from the sea. You just got to try it if you ever get the chance! Or maybe it is the slowbaked garlic that my husband makes for me… Food for me is so very much combined with memories and happenings in my life. Ask me what I did last month, I have no idea. Ask me what food I had on a special occasion 20 years ago, I most probably can tell…  A smell or a taste can bring up the best (and worst) memories in me. Please tell me there are more of you thinking like I am out there!?

Garlic can be intense and almost too much but also creamy, flattering and like butter. It is al in the way we treat it. In earlier days, the garlic was thought of something that could scare the vampires away, maybe it had something to do with the smell… Nowadays people probably are more worried about their own breath when eating garlic than the vampires but there are a few tricks to take in account; cut garlic smells less than pressed one and fresh garlic gives more smell then the baked one. But hey, as if you as foodie by any chance would take this in consideration when you have to choose between great taste and smell…

Anyway, on my hunt I found 4 different nice garlic’s. There is of course also wild garlic, Chinese garlic etc. but for this time I left them aside. To be honest, I just picked the ones that I love myself. That’s the advantage of having your own blog I suppose!

So, here we go;

Fresh  garlic
The fresh garlic has a much softer taste then the dried garlic (as in for most unions). It is available in the summer and autumn in Europe.

You can use the complete fresh garlic. The stalk you can boil with other vegetables in a soup or for making a broth. The fresh cloves can be cut into thin slices and be used in a salad instead of other onions. It is also fantastic to cut the complete garlic in 2 and bake them in the oven in sea salt. Enjoy them with butter and fresh thyme!

French garlic
Most of the time we find The Chinese garlic in the supermarket. They are ok but once you have had the French pink garlic in your kitchen, you honestly don’t ever want to look at anything else. The cloves are big and easy to peel. You don’t have to worry about any moldy taste. They are just so easy to work with and they are my big time favorite (can you tell?).Instead of buying the ready-made garlic oil from the supermarket, make your own! Super easy; peel a clove of French garlic and grate half of it on your (Microplane) grater. The other half you keep in the refrigerator for a better cause later. Add the garlic to a small bowl and add olive oil. Stir and let it sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile cut tomatoes in pieces and cover them with the fresh garlic oil (leave the garlic and use only the oil, it will be rather intense otherwise), some salt and maybe some vinegar to balance the intense garlic taste. Enjoy this “oempfh”-vinaigrette to a dish with fat tastes such as made with cream, duck, pig meat etc. Lovely! Avoid this one for “a first time date the day after” though…
Or make an Italian Gremolata; just chopping up parsley, garlic and mixing it with grated lemon zest. Such a great taste to lamb, chicken, and veggies. So easy and so fresh!

Smoked garlic
Sold often from France and in beautiful brown colored braids. It has a great intense smokey flavor and smell. You use it as you would with normal garlic and as an extra kick you get the smokey flavor in your dish. You could also use it as an vegetarian alternative for getting the hint of a smokey taste as bacon would in a dish.

Another tasty tip that I found on the Internet, is to simmer milk with some unpeeled cloves of the smoked garlic and salt for 15 minutes and then squeeze the garlic purée in the milk leaving the garlic skins aside. I’m thinking this in a gratin with sweat potatoes and goat milk… It just could be that I have to try it very soon. Will come back on an update on that one!

Black garlic
The recipe for making the black garlic is originally from Korea but this one I found, was made in England. Black garlic is actually just aged white garlic. The aging process (gives a result almost like fermented) creates the black color. It is REALLY black! The taste is incomparable with anything that I have tasted ever before. Smooth, molasses-balsamic flavour, soya-like with a tone of anise and licorice. I even had to eat a few cloves straight from the bulb. So exciting! The downside of this garlic would probably be the price though, 4 euros per bulb makes it rather exclusive…

This garlic will fit perfect in different sauces and with veggies, fish or with dark meat. The taste is rather intense (but funny enough not intense in garlic taste!) and is easily taking things over so think carefully about what you are combining it with.

Last night I just baked a piece of meat and mashed the black garlic with a fork on top of the meat. I combined it with a cauliflowerBlack_garlicer purée and butter baked Savoy cabbage. Yum!

In the books Plenty more and the brand new Nopi by Ottolenghi, a must for any foodie that loves taste, you can also find more recipes with black garlic.


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