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Story - Food

Mar 4, 2019 1:49 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Go For The Garlic ... It's Good For Body And Soul

Braised garlic and green beans. BY JANEEN SARLIN
Mar 4, 2019 2:05 PM

Garlic is a member of the lily family that includes chives, leeks, onions, scallions, ramps, and shallots. Ancient civilizations believed garlic would cure consumption, wounds, toothaches and even clear evil spirits and demons! Current health pundits believe eating raw or cooked garlic improves the following conditions: reduces blood pressure, improves immunity, has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, reduces inflammation, reduces fatigue and enhances physical strength, and fights fungal infections. Gastronomically speaking, garlic improves the flavor of savory dishes. If it increases health benefits … what a bonus!

Look for firm plump bulbs with dry skins and visible root-tentacles. Avoid soft, shriveled cloves and any garlic that is in the refrigerated section of the produce department. Store garlic in an open container in a cool dark place for up to eight weeks.

Roasting is the easiest way to cook garlic. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice off the top of the head of garlic. (Option: Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.) Wrap the head in foil and place in a shallow dish. Roast until the garlic is soft when gently squeezed and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool to room temperature and squeeze out the garlic onto bread, potatoes, or vegetables.

Rather than buying pre-chopped raw garlic, make confit of garlic. Take several heads of garlic, peel the cloves keeping them intact and place them in a heavy saucepan over moderate high heat. Add enough cooking oil to cover the garlic by one-half inch. Heat until the oil begins to boil—little bubbles will appear around the edges of the oil. Gently simmer until the garlic is golden and tender, but still intact. Watch carefully. Cooking time depends on the amount of garlic in the pan. Set off the heat and bring to room temperature. Transfer the garlic and the oil to a very clean glass jar, making sure the cloves are submersed in the oil. Cover the jar and refrigerate for up to two months.

When I want digestible full garlic flavor in a dish that’s not overpowering, I add as many as six or seven confit of garlic cloves in hummus to achieve the desired taste!

Here are three garlic-centered recipes to try this week. Bon appetit!

Braised Garlic and Green Beans
Adapted from Bert Greene

(Serves 4)

1 pound tender young green beans (haricots verts) trimmed

About 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter

4 to 5 large cloves garlic

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage or/and parsley

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To prepare:

In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the beans until they are crunch tender, about one and one-half minutes. Rinse under cold running water, drain well, and reserve.

Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add garlic and cook covered light golden and soft about 20 minutes. Remove the cover; with a fork, mash the garlic until it blends into the oil/butter. Add reserved beans to the skillet over medium heat and toss until beans are hot and cooked to personal preference. Sprinkle herbs, season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust the seasonings, and serve at once.

Allium Vegetable Soup
Adaptation of Italian Rustic Garlic Soup

(Serves 4 to 5)

About 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 leek, white parts, washed and chopped, green part discarded

1 large white onion, peeled and chopped

1 large head garlic, separated into cloves, peeled

1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped

2 shallots, peeled and chopped

1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped

2 sprigs fresh thyme, whole

1 Bay leaf

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 to 3 cups good quality vegetable stock

3 cups water

Soup garnishes:

1/2 loaf rustic bread, cut into thick slices, toasted

1/3 cup freshly grated

Parmesan or Grana Padana Cheese

Snipped chives

To prepare:

In a stockpot over moderate heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add leek, onion, garlic, scallions, shallots, celery, thyme, bay leaf, and sauté briefly until the vegetables are shiny. Add salt, pepper, vegetable stock and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 45 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and then purée the vegetables with an immersion blender or in a Foley food mill set over a large bowl. Return the vegetables to the stockpot, taste, and adjust the seasonings. Bring to a simmer. Continue simmering to thicken the soup or add vegetable stock if it’s too thick.

Meanwhile, slice country-style bread, lightly brush both sides with olive oil, and either toast in a toaster oven or saute in a skillet over moderate high heat. Sprinkle cheese on the hot bread and run it under the broiler until it bubbles—about 30 seconds.

Ladle soup into warm soup bowls, float a slice of bread on top and garnish with snipped chives.

Henry’s Spinach

(Serves 4)

1 tablespoon coconut oil or more if needed

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 pound baby spinach leaves, washed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Optional: Fresh Lemon juice to taste

To prepare:

In a medium skillet over moderate heat, add the oil, when hot, add garlic and sauté until garlic is golden brown. With a slotted spoon transfer the garlic to a paper towel lined side dish. Increase the heat, add more oil if necessary, and working in batches, add spinach to the skillet and sauté, stirring constantly, until the spinach is wilted. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust the seasonings. If avoiding salt, drizzle with lemon juice. Transfer the spinach to a bowl, sprinkle reserved garlic on top and serve at once.

 

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