Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Get Your Garlic While It's Fresh

Saturday Lynda and I met up at the Green Market. I was thrilled to find that they had fresh garlic. I first got some there a couple of years ago and I wait for it to come into season every year.

This year there was a twist--it had a little cap on it. I've never seen that before. It kind of looked like the onion tops I got there a couple of weeks ago (and I I wrote about here). I asked the guy what to do with it and he said "Cook it up and eat it." D'oh!

Here's the beautiful fresh garlic bulb. Actually, it could have been fresher--I got it Saturday and didn't cook it until Monday, which was enough time for it to dry out a little.

But just a little. The flavor is so subtle you can cook the whole bulb without it being too strong.

And here's the little garlic cluster at the top. The cloves were teeny tiny and popped apart like a pometranate, except that there are no seeds inside them.

And then I just have to show you the whole thing. Look how tall that puppy is! Lynda said it looked like I had a tail walking home with it sticking out of my bag.
I was going to make a stir-fry with the garlic, some zucchini, and three gorgeous first-of-the-season Japanese eggplants, but I'm having a little bit of a food crisis right now. I have too much food to cook and not enough time in which to cook it right now, thanks to my new job. So last night it was cook it up or throw away the eggplant, and they were too beautiful to waste.

So instead of a stir-fry, I just sauteed the garlic and eggplant together, then braised them in a little bit of chicken stock I had (accidentally!) reduced to a super strong concentrate from my Fourth of July slow-cooker chicken. But the little bit of broth turned out to be a lot, so I added a little corn starch to thicken it up. And then it looked like I might have cooked it a little too long because the eggplant got really soft and mushy looking. It looked so bad I didn't even bother to take a picture.

And then I tasted it, and it was really good. Turns out the chicken stock had some sweetness in it, the eggplant was like silk, and the garlic and garlic clusters were like velvet. I didn't use any other seasonings except for a little salt, so the flavors of the eggplant and garlic really stood out.

I hope they have some more garlic next time I go. It has a short season, though, so it's a little iffy.

Now I have to hurry up and do something with those gorgeous green and golden zucchini. I hope they're good for another day or two.

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