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TCP Kitchen

Garlic: The Stinkin’ Rose

By the clove or by the bulb, this plant’s seasoning won’t be ignored

This month’s testing was odoriferous—in the best ways. Garlic is beloved worldwide for its flavor, which ranges from sharp heat to deep sweetness. One of my favorite recipes is Garlic Confit from Susan Spicer, the chef at Bayona and Mondo in New Orleans. She calls it “confit” because, like the French method for preserving meat, she slow-cooks the cloves in oil and other liquids. This results in a caramelized garlic concoction without the mess of squeezing out the cloves. Try it in Spicer’s White Bean Hummus (delicious with blue corn chips), and you’ll be hooked.

White Bean Hummus With Garlic Confit

1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Garlic Confit (see recipe below)
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
2–4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 or 2 tablespoons oil from Garlic Confit

1. Prepare Garlic Confit (see recipe below).

2. Place the garlic clove, salt and red pepper flakes in the bowl of a food processor and process to a rough paste. Add the beans and pulse briefly.

3. Add the Garlic Confit, tahini, water, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and confit oil, and process until smooth.

4. Taste and add more salt, lemon or vinegar, as desired.

Makes about 4 cups.

Garlic Confit
2 bulbs garlic, stemmed and peeled
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup water
1 cup good quality olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 stems fresh thyme, or 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 small dried red chile (optional)

1. Place the garlic, wine, water and olive oil in a small skillet and season with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper. Add the herbs (and chile if using), tucking them into the liquid to moisten.

2. Bring mixture to a simmer over low heat. Simmer 30–40 minutes, until the water and wine have evaporated and the cloves have softened and turned a deep golden color.

3. When it’s done to your liking, drain the garlic, reserving the oil. If not using right away, pour oil into a jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

4. Taste and add more salt, lemon or vinegar, as desired.

Makes about 1 cup.

From Crescent City Cooking by Susan Spicer with Paula Disbrowe (Knopf, 2007), used with permission

August 2016 Recipe Contest