I have a new obsession, and it’s been showing up in a lot of my dishes (and my clients’ dishes lately). This secret ingredient is Black Garlic. No, it’s not garlic that’s gone bad. It’s garlic that’s undergone a Maillard Reaction which happens when amino acids and reducing sugars have a chemical reaction. And it’s how cooked/toasted foods like bread, steak, marshmallows and cookies achieve their color and flavor.
I make Black Garlic at home, and the process takes me about 12 days. Here’s how I do it:
* Start with a clean bulb of garlic and place it in a Black Garlic cooker.
* The temperature is controlled at 165° F with 78% humidity.
* After the 12th day, remove the bulb and outer skin, and it’s ready to enjoy.
[Chef’s Note: If you make Black Garlic in your kitchen, your home will smell like garlic for at least a week. As an alternative, you can often find Black Garlic in specialty spice shops already prepared for you.]
The result is a product that doesn’t smell or taste like garlic anymore. It’s dark black, soft and gooey with caramelized notes that are sweet and syrupy. Many people compare the taste to balsamic vinegar or tamarind.
As an added bonus, Black Garlic is known as a superfood. It’s said to contain double the amount of antioxidants as regular garlic. It may also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, decrease the risk of cancer and act as an antibiotic for infections. (But as always, see a doctor before using food medicinally.)
So what do you do with Black Garlic? Try adding it to BBQ sauces and marinades. Use it to braise beef short ribs or to steep in beer for brats. Dry it and put it through a coffee mill to create powder for sprinkling. You can even put a little in your morning smoothie. The possibilities are endless.
Try it: If you’re feeling adventurous, give Black Garlic a try this week. Then let us know what you think in the comments below. Or, if you’re too busy to cook and experiment with new ingredients, let me do it for you! Click here to learn more about my Personal Chef Services.