I was recently asked if I would like to try some Basaljo Black Garlic. I quite like garlic and I was immediately intrigued . . . black garlic. It sounded quite interesting! I was game to try it! I like to try new things (within reason) and from what I had read about black garlic, it sounded like something we would enjoy.
From Wikepedia: Black garlic is a type of "caramelized" garlic (in reality, browned by the Maillard reaction rather than truly caramelized) first used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic (Allium sativum) over the course of several weeks, a process that results in black cloves.
The garlic came, already peeled in a plastic pot. It looked a bit like garlic clove shaped black jelly babies. It was soft and slightly sticky. I tasted a small one just to see what it tasted like. It was only slightly garlicky, very mellow with an almost fruity balsamic quality. I could not wait to use it.
One of my first thoughts was that it would be fabulous in a vinaigrette salad dressing. Possibly a salad with earthy baby greens and some beetroot, and so that is what I used for the salad. I added some leftover roast chicken and green peas.
I left the dressing pretty basic as I wanted to highlight the flavour of the garlic. It was basically just a good olive oil, along with a touch of Dijon mustard and some good balsamic vinegar and seasonings, which I felt would go well together with the garlic. I blitzed it in my small food processor and was well pleased with the resulting almost amber coloured silky dressing.
It was slightly pungent, but not in a bad way. We really, really liked it. I think this dressing would be beautiful drizzled over some grilled salmon, or even brushed on the salmon prior to grilling, or even some good cod. I think it would also serve as a great marinade for beef or pork, or even lamb. I am going to try that in the summer for BBQ season!
*Black Garlic Vinaigrette*Makes 225ml (1 cup)
The next thing I did was to use it in some mash. We love our mash and are very fond of roasted garlic mash. (We are fond of roasted garlic anything!)
My primary concern was about the colour. I was a bit worried that it might tint the potatoes a funny colour, the idea of really black potatoes did not appeal to me.
I wanted to make sure that the garlic was really smooth before I stirred it in, so I did what I do with normal garlic. I mashed it together with some sea salt. The sea salt helps to break it down really fine and also adds flavour to your potatoes. You won't need to add anymore salt.
We have really good new potatoes coming out now. They are sweet, but waxy in texture so not really great for mashed potatoes, but work great for smashed potatoes! You can peel or not as you wish. I chose to peel this time around.
I used quite a few cloves of the black garlic, six altogether, and I added some grated strong cheddar. We got some really great cave aged cheddar the other day and the two were begging me to use them together. What a fabulous result! I could have easily sat down and eaten a bowl of this Black Garlic and Cheesy Smash all on its own with nothing else at all. It was fabulously delicious! A new favourite!
*Black Garlic and Cheesy Smash*Serves 4 - 6
Black garlic is sweet meets savory, a perfect mix of molasses-like richness and tangy garlic undertones. It has a tender, almost jelly-like texture with a melt-in-your-mouth consistency similar to a soft dried fruit. Hard to believe, but true. It’s as delicious as it is unique. This is sure to become a pantry staple.
To find out more about Balsajo Black Garlic, be sure to check out their website.
Balsajo Black Garlic is available from www.balsajo.com and any good independent farm shops, fine food shops and delicatessens.
Balsajo Black Garlic One Large Bulb - £2.99 from Sainsbury’s
· Balsajo Black Garlic Peeled pots 50g (£4.49) or 150g (£11.99)
· Balsajo Black Garlic Black Garlic Paste for 100g jar - £6
Many thanks to the people at Balsajo for affording me this opportunity to try something new! This has become a new favourite item in my kitchen! I can't wait to see what I can use it in next. There are plenty of recipes and tips on their site. That Black Garlic and Parsley Potato Salad is calling my name!
Note - Athough I was sent some black garlic for free to try out, I was not required to write a positive review. Any and all opinions are my own.