Black Garlic has been around for quite awhile and is an ingredient that chefs have been using across the country. Think of it as “sweet meets savory.” Black garlic is made when heads of garlic are aged under very specialized conditions until the cloves turn black and have a sticky date-like texture. The taste is delicious and unique with a sweet and earthy umami flavor that intensifies nearly any dish you’re creating.
Garlic bulbs are kept for weeks at low temperatures in a humid environment. The enzymes that give fresh garlic its sharpness break down. These conditions also facilitate the Maillard reaction, the chemical process that produces wild new flavor compounds responsible for the deep taste of seared meat and fried onions.
Black garlic’s flavor is described as tasting like aged balsamic, prunes, licorice, molasses, caramel, and tamarind. Use the cloves as you would roasted garlic. Purée with olive oil for a dense and sweet flavor all its own that compliments steaks, chicken, fish and seafood. Smear the paste on crostini or incorporate it into dressings. Use in a braise to intensify the umami-rich flavor of spare ribs. Add to soups, risotto, noodle and rice dishes, and cheese dips. Black garlic also pairs well with blue cheese.
Black garlic also comes in a dehydrated powder that is considered an umami pixie dust. Just sprinkle a bit of it on anything that begs for depth and earthiness.
Most likely you won’t find black garlic at your local neighborhood market, but some Whole Foods will carry it. I’m lucky enough to get mine at Kalustyan’s in New York City. You can certainly get it online at Amazon or other specialty online food sources.
“Work With What You Got!”
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