Friday, January 16, 2009

The truth under Garlic

Every wondered  why Garlic bread does not taste the same as it used to?

I take my hat off to the good folks in the Marlborough Garlic industry, they have been through the wringer and back yet they still manage to have a smile on their faces, this extends through to the new season garlic now arriving in my kitchen door  - who would have thought the  largest garlic producing region in NZ would be bought to its knees by the importation of a product that is only a fraction of the quality ?

Marlborough garlic is available January until November every year with Pukekohe garlic being the first  of the new season product available in December and it will keep you happy until New Year when the new Marlborough crop becomes available. The vast majority of New Zealand garlic is grown in the Marlborough region as it is the combination of a hard winter followed by a long dry summer which suits garlic growing perfectly resulting in quality which is second to none. New Zealand garlic is distinctively fresh and juicy with a wonderful pungency contained within clean white bulbs with roots extending.

  Chinese  or imported garlic while a fraction of the price will have the roots cut out and have no flavour or smell to it (that’s what has happened to our garlic breads)  – you have to use 3-4 times as much to try and get the garlic flavour out which still does not compare to the pungent Marlborough produce.  The chefs way is to use salt and the back of a cooks knife to smash the skin off and then grind it with the salt until a paste forms, rich oil aromas will come  to the surface and give your food the garlic flavour that it needs.  Too strong you I hear you say, then why use garlic if you are not looking for the real flavour? – it is like most  other industrialised food products where the real taste is missing because we force them to grow too fast so that they can get to the market quickly and sit on a shelf for longer – go on I dare you and you will never go back to that Chinese taste again

In the kichen we roll in a little grape seed oil, wrap in tinfoil and then baked for 45-60 mins in a oven at 170 degrees or until soft and then use as our DIY garlic bread with local salt, local parsley, and Marlborough bagautte


Garlic Aioli Recipe

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 large egg

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 turns freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup Grape Seed Oill


Combine the garlic, egg, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and puree. Add the oil in a slow stream and continue to process until the mixture has formed a thick emulsion. Finish with 1 T of boiling water to set



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