I love this project because it’s like a two-for-one deal: your garlic cloves are perfectly preserved for months, and you also end up with a jar full of pungent garlicky olive oil that you can use on everything from soft ricotta and tomato on toast, to brushing over meat before cooking it on the barbecue. The quality of garlic sold in most supermarkets around the world is patchy at best. Those white bulbs are often imported and bleached, which is why they are so clean and bright – not my kind of garlic. When garlic season hits, which is usually late autumn and spring, find the best organic, locally grown cloves you can, then preserve them so you can live like a king for the rest of the year.
This is an excerpt from my new book "Real Food Projects - 30 skills and 46 Recipes from Scratch. For more recipes like this one - buy it here.
MAKES: 1 x 500 ml (16 oz) jar
10 garlic bulbs
1 rosemary sprig
1 small red chilli
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
200 ml (7 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil, approximately
200 ml (7 fl oz) vegetable oil, approximately
1 x 500 ml (16 oz) jar and lid
Prepare the garlic: Break the garlic bulbs into individual cloves. Peel each clove; to make the job easier, gently press each clove with the back of a knife to loosen the skin before peeling. You should end up with about 2 cups of peeled cloves.
Boil the garlic: Place the garlic cloves in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then drain. Repeat this three times. The garlic will soften.
Pack the jar: Place the garlic in a clean jar. Add the rosemary, chilli and peppercorns, then pour in the olive oil and vegetable oil, making sure the garlic cloves are covered by at least 2 cm (¾ inch) of oil so they don’t spoil; the amount of oil you’ll need may vary depending on the size of the garlic cloves. Also, don’t be tempted to use only olive oil for packing the garlic cloves, as it will harden in the fridge; using vegetable oil in the mix will keep the oils liquid.
Store: Seal and store in the refrigerator. The garlic will keep for up to 3 months in the oil.
HOW TO USE
• Use the cloves in place of fresh garlic when frying your onions and garlic for pasta sauces.
• Add a few cloves and some rosemary to your No-knead bread (page 118).
• The oil is just as delicious as the garlic. When you’ve used up all the preserved garlic cloves, use the garlicky oil in place of regular oil when marinating olives, brush it on vegetables before grilling, or use as a marinade for meats.
• Make a sensational garlic roast chicken by stuffing the cloves under the skin with some chopped rosemary, then brushing the whole chicken with the oil.
Photo credit: Cath Muscat
Styling: Vivien Walsh