We have a regular customer who is violently allergic to garlic. It's only since putting together garlic-free menus for her that I've realised how much we rely on this pungent bulb for basic cooking flavours.
Some examples of its uses:
Pan-fried rib-eye steak with roasted garlic and green beans (serves two)
Two 200g-250g rib-eye steaks
1 stalk fresh rosemary, chopped
juice from half a lemon
half tsp sea salt
half tsp cracked black pepper
1 large head of garlic
200g green beans, trimmed
Mix the rosemary, lemon juice, salt and pepper with a little olive oil and brush over the rib-eye steaks. Seal and leave to marinade for at least 48 hours for best results.
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Cut the garlic head in half across the middle. Place in a small oven dish and cover liberally with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until the garlic cloves are soft.
Blanche the green beans in boiling water for one minute, then drain and keep warm.
Pour the excess olive oil from the roasted garlic into a frying pan and heat until bubbling. Carefully place the steaks in the oil and fry on both sides until cooked to requirements. Serve with the green beans and roasted garlic cloves.
Roasted garlic and onion soup with goat's cheese croutons (serves six)
3 heads garlic, peeled
2 medium onions, sliced
400ml chicken stock
100ml dry white wine
sea salt and ground black pepper
6 slices of French bread, toasted
20g fresh basil, chopped
1 shallot, diced
40g goats cheese
10g fresh parsley, chopped
Pre-heat oven to 160C. Place the peeled garlic cloves and sliced onion on a baking tray and brush liberally with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, until onions and garlic are quite soft.
Place the cooked onions and garlic in a pot. Put the oven tray on the stove, de-glaze with the white wine and add to the pot. Add the stock and simmer for one hour. Take off and allow to cool a little before liquidising in a food processor. Return to the heat and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Mash the goat's cheese together with the diced shallot, chopped basil and chopped parsley and spread on to the toasted French bread slices. Place in the oven or under the grill until cheese has begun to melt.
Portion the hot soup into six bowls and float a crouton on each one and serve.
Garlic and chilli pickle
750g assorted fresh chillies
2 heads garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
2 red peppers, sliced
500g baby carrots, peeled
4 tbsp sea salt
4 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
500ml white wine vinegar
Place the carrots in a pot with the vinegar and bring to the boil. (You may want to open the windows!) Cook for ten minutes, then add all the other ingredients. Simmer for another ten minutes, then take off the heat and allow to cool down a little before pouring into glass jars and sealing. Once fully cooled, refrigerate. You can use straight away, but for best results leave for 3-4 days.