Patience is not a virtue I possess. Ask anyone who knows me and they will attest that my curiosity almost always gets the better of me. So when my latest culinary experiment’s success hinged on my letting time do it’s thing, I was not sure I could pull it off.
Garlic is something that we use in abundance in our kitchen, and I am always interested in trying new cultivars and means of preparation. It was in researching fermented garlic (next on my to do list) that I stumbled across black garlic, and I knew I had to find a way to make it myself. Black garlic (falsely referred to as fermented – as it does not involve any microbial action) is garlic that has been heated over the duration of many weeks at a constant temperature and humidity. The sugars in the garlic are slowly caramelised and develop a deep umami flavour that is quite simply fantastic! The texture of the cloves soften and the flavour mellows to something reminiscent of balsamic vinegar and truffles.
Last night while a good friend was over for dinner, we decided that after 40 days it was time to see what we had… and wow! We were thrilled! We removed a few heads from the package (approximately 2 dozen heads of garlic in this batch) and wrapped the rest up to maintain the original humidity level as much as possible). The first thing that hit us was the smell.. it was divine, deep and mellow, reminiscent of what can simply be referred to as soul food, the likes of which only come in the form of slow food. The colour and texture of the cloves had changed to a deep caramel colour and soft consistency, not quite as black as I would like, hence my putting the rest of the batch back in hibernation for another few weeks. We sliced a few cloves, and ate them all on their own, decadent finger food to say the least. The rest will keep caramelizing with the goal being a black and gelatinous spreadable texture. I can hardly wait!
Black garlic is hailed as being a healthy source of antioxidants, with many purporting various health benefits etc… I am no expert, and have to admit that this project was solely based on wanting to add a new ingredient to my pantry that would expand our culinary palette, but my gutt tells me that this has got to be good for you!
Tonight I plan on pairing it with goats cheese and maybe a drop of honey and sea salt on a pastry crust… ahh.. the possibilities are endless.
I will be putting together my next batch this week, and will document the entire process. This time it will include a variety of garlic – something tells me that this will quickly become a continuous cycle of batches… Stay tuned.