What is black garlic? Have you heard of it?
Not sure how to describe black garlic adequately. To start with, as it says on the label, it is black but that is not because it is a different variety of garlic. It is the normal garlic which has gone through a process that has transformed it in flavour, colour and texture.
A lot of what I have read says it has a balsamic like flavour to it but I feel, and everyone's tastes are different, it is more akin to slowly braised onions that have slightly burnt but with a light garlic taste rather than an onion taste! Probably a lot to do with its sweetness. Certainly pleasant enough to pop one in your mouth and eat it like a sweet.
As for the colour it makes you think of liquorice - a very black black - and you could eat it as it if it was a sweet if you wanted to. If you try one this way you will find the texture is very much like eating a liquorice sweet or chewing a wine gum (might be an interesting trick to play on someone).
Black garlic is sweet meets savoury, a perfect mix of molasses-like richness and tangy garlic undertones. It has a tender, almost jelly-like texture with a melt-in-your-mouth consistency similar to a soft dried fruit. This is how the producers describe it which is pretty much how I found it to be.
I have used it a few times in cooking. The Black Garlic comes as the complete bulb or as ready peeled cloves. The first time I used the already peeled cloves. I made the mistake of trying to chop them up . . . it just stuck to my knife so in the end I threw them in whole and left them to dissolve in what I was cooking. I forget what I cooked but the flavour from the Black Garlic did not come through enough to give me a good impression. Perhaps I just did not use enough.
I am not sure I have really used it to best effect yet but I did have some success with making a cauliflower cheese (see recipe below) in which it definitely added to the flavour (sauce was a bit brownish but that could have been because of my mushrooms).
Would I recommend it? I am not sure but I would certainly recommend trying it and making your own judgement. I think it might go well in a simple risotto but I have not had the time or the occasion to cook one yet.
For me there is one big negative to Black Garlic. On the web site it says Imagine garlic without all of the annoying stuff. Bad breath? Nope. Pungent odour? Nope. The odour of garlic cooking is one of the great food smells of the world so to remove that is a shame but then this is not garlic as you know it. It is a completely different food. Try it and you will see what I mean.
CAULIFLOWER CHEESE RECIPE
1 large cauliflower
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon
3 cloves black garlic
1 red chilli
100gm sliced mushrooms
300ml crème fraiche
250gm strong cheddar cheese
- If using a steamer
put it on to warm up otherwise bring water to the boil ready for the cauliflower.
- Cut bacon into
small pieces and fry in high sided pan until it starts to crisp.
- De-seed chilli
and finely chop. Add to pan.
- Add the garlic
cloves to the pan and break up in thee pan as they start to cook.
- Start the cauliflower
cooking as it will need around 15 minutes.
- Add the sliced
mushrooms to the pan and stir. Cook until mushroom slices start to go limp.
- Add crème
- When the crème
fraiche starts to bubble add your cheese and keep stirring until cheese has
all melted. Keep warm until cauliflower is cooked.
- Place cauliflower
in a large bowl and cover with cheese sauce.
- Serve on its own or with a meat of your choice.
If you want further information you can find this on the Black Garlic web site.
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There is always something happening in supermarkets - new products, product demonstrations, shelves reorganised so you can't find anything. Not always interesting, quite often boring and sometimes a chore but just occasionally something catches your eye, something is interesting . . .