Secret Ingredient: Black Garlic
I'm an admitted spice junkie. I look for unusual spices whenever I travel – and have a love affair with many of them (like the sumac mentioned here) until I discover new, succulent flavors and am infatuated all over again. Black Garlic has been the latest of my paramours.
After reading about Black Garlic, which has been lauded as the new savory ingredient-of-the-moment of chefs in five star restaurants, I had to, bien sûr, find out more about it.
I found Black Garlic at my favorite spice merchant, the Spice House (lucky you, they sell online). Roxanne, the lovely spice assistant told me more about this umami imparting ingredient. It's hard to relate Black Garlic to… garlic. The texture is soft and chewy. The color is a copper-y black. And the taste is sweet & savory.The garlic is grown and processed in Korea and is made by fermenting whole bulbs of garlic at high temperature, a process that results in black cloves.
From the Spice House website: “[Black Garlic is] created by aging and fermenting raw garlic, black garlic cloves are slightly gummy and bursting with umami. The harsh astringency of raw garlic is tempered during fermentation to create a sweet, salty, earthy taste. Rich and addictive, black garlic can be eaten straight (it's often consumed for its health benefits) or added to dishes from garlic noodles to lemon cookies.” But it's the flavor that's making it the ingredient of choice for high end chefs in America, including Matthias Merges of Charlie Trotters in Chicago”.
Of course, I bought a packet and got cooking with some of the recipes mentioned on the site: the Black Garlic Tapenade and the dip. I have to say that I was not completely satisfied with these. Not that the recipes did not turn out well – they did. Rather, I was disappointed that the oh-so distinctive Black Garlic taste had been diluted among the rest of the ingredients. I was, however, very happy with the Black Garlic risotto that was a huge – savory – success. For my risotto experiment, I was inspired by a recipe found here and improvised by substituting red onion & parsley. Magnifique.
Well, there you have it. Now you have the scoop on the hottest ingredient of the season. And you can get it online at the Spice Market for $4.99 for a pouch containing 2 cloves.
Please let us know if you try it!