What is Garlic?
Garlic is a species in the onion genus, Allium and it is grown for its flavourful bulbs. It is closely related to other vegetables such as chives, shallots, leek and onions.
Each garlic bulb contains 10-20 individual garlic cloves. Each clove and each bulb are encased in a paper-thin skin that is all held together by the root end. Perhaps the most common garlic we can find in supermarkets are the softneck garlic of which there are 2 common varieties called Silverskin or Artichoke.
Garlic is a staple in many households and used in a myriad of dishes and cuisines. Fresh garlic is best although many people also use dried garlic flakes or powder, particularly in spice blends and rubs.
When you’re choosing your garlic, make sure it is free of blemishes, the whole bulb is intact and that it’s not sprouting as that is certainly a sign that it’s not as fresh.
The best way to store fresh garlic is in a cool, dry and dark place. It is best eaten within a few weeks but can literally last for a few months.
What Does Garlic Taste Like?
Flavour: Raw garlic is extremely pungent and can be even slightly bitter and/or spicy. Garlic has a tendency to permeate your breath for long periods of time. The reason this happens is because garlic is full of sulphur compounds and after being digested, it is released in your bloodstream. Unfortunately for some, garlic breath can linger around for 24 hours! Try eating a fresh green apple. It really helps!
Cooking garlic does change its flavour. It definitely makes it a lot milder while roasting it makes it sweeter and nuttier.
The amount of flavour released is dependent on how you prepare it. The smaller the pieces, the bigger the flavour. So chopped garlic releases more flavour than sliced garlic for example. For a fuller flavour, mince it but for intense flavour, smash it so that all of its oils are released.
Texture: The skin of the garlic is paper thin and crisp. A normal garlic will yield about 10-20 cloves of which each clove has a tapered tip and a hard root end. The best way to cut up a garlic bulb is to firstly squash it with the palm of your hands to loosen the cloves. Then extract the number of cloves you need.
Then cut off the tip and root of the clove. With the flat end of the knife with the blade away from you, use the palm of yourhand to press the knife onto the garlic to crush it. This helps to loosen the skin from the flesh.
Have you noticed that once you cut the garlic, the skins get very sticky and just about sticks to your hands all the time? This is because the same offending sulphur compounds that give you garlic breath like the proteins in our hands which causes this sticky sensation.
When garlic is cooked it softens. When roasted, it becomes mushy and extremely soft.
What Goes Well with Garlic?
Fruit and Vegetables
Artichoke, asparagus, avocado, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, fennel, green bean, honeydew, jackfruit, kale, kohlrabi, leek, mushroom, parsnip, rocket, spinach, sugar snap peas, sweet potato, turnip.
Herbs, Nuts and Spices
Almonds, cashew, chervil, coriander, paprika, parsley, saffron, sage.
Protein and Other
Beef, chicken, curry, fish, lamb, pork, sesame, squid, veal.
How to Use Garlic in Salads?
We use garlic quite a lot in our salad dressings. They are an excellent flavouring agent of which we often either crush it, mince or chop and we let it sit in the dressing for some time so the oils are released into the recipe.
Here are some of our garlicky salad dressings you may like:
- Creamy Garlic Dressing
- Lemon Parsley Anchovy and Garlic Dressing
- Garlic Infused Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Garlic powder is a great way to season food such as chicken and beef. They can be pan fried and added onto a salad to make quick lunches or hearty meals. You can also roast the entire garlic and serve it up with a salad or you can even make garlic oil and drizzle the aromatic oil over your salad for added flavour.
Salad Recipes with Garlic
Deliciously sweet roasted baby peppers, caramelised eggplant and tangy lemon mingled in with nutty tricolour quinoa and a zingy lemon garlic dressing. A colourful vegan quinoa recipe that would shine at any potluck meal.
An incredibly flavourful Asian salad with traditional Chinese and Vietnamese ingredients. This Five-Spice Tofu Salad with Vietnamese Ham is positively lip smacking and moreish!
No regular pale gluggy potato salad here. Delicious, sweet roasted potatoes and New Zealand yams amped up with a touch of sophisticated flavour through a zippy salty anchovy dressing. A great addition to summer barbeques or winter roasts.
More Ingredient Pairings
Here are more ingredient pairing ideas for your next salad creation!
- What Goes Well with Brussels Sprouts
- What Goes Well with Fennel
- What Goes Well with Jerusalem Artichoke
- What Goes Well with Lime
- What Goes Well with Mushroom
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