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gorgeous local garlic

The South Australian/Australian new season’s garlic is available from mid–October until end of November depending on the seasonal conditions.

Chefs and food writers can change the way everyone cooks and eats and we can certainly be blamed for the high price of local garlic. But, buying local garlic is certainly an advance on the nasty Chinese garlic that had become almost the norm in fruit and vegetable shops and supermarket vegetable sections. True there have been times in the last 12 months where we have been forced to purchase garlic from Mexico and Spain but our determination not to buy Chinese garlic has seen the price of local garlic rise to as much as $30 per kilo with very little difference in the wholesale and retail price. By this week most of the South Australian garlic crop will have been pulled and it is time to buy up big and keep it in your back fridge where it will last longer than bunched and hung in variant temperatures that could range in our climate from anything from 10°C to 45°C if it’s hung in your shed. If you have a cellar with an ambient and constant temperature of approximately 12°C to 16°C go for the hanging method but if you notice it start to shoot it will be time to process it to keep it going longer. Stall 69 Adelaide Central Markets and Wilson’s Organics and other organic stores have long celebrated the local garlic season and many other shops are now following suit. Two weeks ago Lee Bugeja (Stall 69) had the first local garlic piled high and the quality was exceptional.

New seasons garlic are very easy to peel and if you have a vac machine, peeling them and vaccing them with a little of your very best EV olive oil is a great way of storing the garlic and minimizing the amount of fridge space they require. We use large vac bags and don’t over fill them that way we can split the top remove what we need and revac. We never use our hands to remove the garlic but use tongs uncertainly clean hands can start fermentation and our aim is to keep the garlic in perfect condition as long as possible.

Roasted garlic is an even better method of storage and whilst a vac machine is handy it is not vital. We make shatter packs of roasted garlic and keep it in the freezer so easy to grab whenever you need it. A lot of our recipes use 50g of roasted garlic or multiples of 50g so we freeze the garlic in 50g layers separated by Freezer–go–between and peel them off as we need them. It literally takes about 5 minute for the garlic to thaw.
Once the garlic starts to shoot using it whole, especially roasting it can be fraught with danger because the germ can be very bitter and in most instances needs to be removed. We learned this by sad experience when roasting and processing several kilos of shooting garlic thinking it would be a good way to keep it going longer only to find that it was ruined with a bitterness that was impossible to disguise. Whether using shooting garlic fresh or roasting it, the germ should be removed.

Roasted Garlic
pre heat oven to 160°C

Break the heads into cloves and put them into a roasting dish and splash generously with your best EV olive oil. Be generous with the oil it is used not wasted. Roll the cloves through the oil and then cover tightly with a double layer of foil. Put in the oven and set a time for 1 hour. Without tearing the foil carefully lift back the foil and test a clove for the degree of cook. It should be soft and jelly like and if the garlic is very fresh one hour is usually enough. If it needs a little longer reseal and return to the oven. If it is cooked reseal and rest for 30 minutes before processing.
Wearing food service gloves press the roasted garlic from the clove and puree with a stick mixer. Store in your preferred manner. Don’t through away the husks we freeze them and use them for garlic soup our two favourites are Lamb and garlic soup with wheat or only ever made at the peak of summer tomatoes a divine and simple tomato and garlic soup that can be served hot or cold.

Roman Salad Dressing
sufficient for 6 large salads – keeps nicely for about a month in a sealed glass container in the fridge handy for summer

100g honey
75g smooth Dijon mustard
400g EV olive oil
50g roasted garlic
5g Maldon sea salt
black pepper freshly ground
150g fresh–strained lemon juice

Put everything in a jug and emulsify with a stick mixer. The seasoning in the dressing is light and allows for addition seasoning when making a salad.

This slightly sweet salad dressing always draws lots of compliments and is excellent for a mix of bitter and sweet leaves. Jug and stick mixer is a great way of making these dressings. This is a recipe adapted from John Edwards wonderful book The Roman Cooking of Apicius.

Sesame Dressing
this dressing is much nicer made and used within 24 hours

200g sesame seeds roasted until golden in a 160°C oven
400g EV olive oil
50g roasted garlic
5g Maldon sea salt
black pepper freshly ground
150g fresh–strained lemon juice

While the sesame seeds are still hot put them in a blender with the olive oil and puree. Add the remaining ingredients and process until combined. This dressing does sometimes split a little but once on the salad is fine.

This dressing is made with a blender but is a delicious option for salads from the Middle East and is wonderful on beans or a combination of beans, peeled, blanched and podded broad beans with some cooked mograbieh pickled lemon, red onion and massed herbs.

Roasted garlic and cream sauce
300ml cream
50g roasted garlic
sea salt
black pepper, freshly ground
50–100ml fresh–strained lemon juice

Bring the cream, garlic, salt and pepper to the boil, then add the lemon juice and bring back to the boil.

Garlic Squid Pasta
serves 4

Add 400g cleaned shaved fresh squid to the garlic and cream sauce, bring back to the boil and immediately add 400g (dried weight) hot just cooked pasta still through and serve. A little finely grated Reggiano Parmesan right at the end adds extra flavour.

We love a little chilli added to this dish, fresh finely chopped or chilli flakes are good. Extra sauce and bread is good.

Garlic Prawns
sufficient for 6

Start a roasted garlic and cream sauce and add 250ml of prawn head stock bring to the boil and reduce to a good sauce consistency before adding 900g de–veined green South Australian prawns. Heat through allowing them to just set then add 30g finely grated Reggiano Parmesan and heaps of chopped parsley.

the people behind Galaxy Guidesfood editor and publisher
Ann Oliver

champagne editor
Kaaren Palmer


Jan Bowman
Political comentator, briliant photographer…farmers’s market obsessed…Brisbane based.

Olivia Stratton Makris
Masters of Gastronomy, NYC, Spain and constant assistance and editorial suggestion…Adelaide based.

Michael Martin…Northern America 2016.Photographic assistance Kym Martin…Adelaide based.

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copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver & Kaaren Palmer 2016.