The run of the mill spring vegetable recipe really gets kicked up a notch when I get my hands on some black garlic! Used regularly in Asian cuisine, black garlic has been rising in popularity among gastronomic circles for the past several years. You won’t find black garlic in regular grocery stores but the payoff is worth the scavenger hunt if you can find it! For those in the Atlanta area, you can find it at your local Whole Foods market.
What is it?
To create black garlic, regular garlic bulbs are aged under strict environmental conditions- specifically controlled heat and humidity- for several weeks. The cloves turn inky black and develop a fig-like sticky texture. The taste? Amazingly different! Black garlic contains subtleties of balsamic vinegar, caramel and molasses, combined with an earthy flavor. And, it lacks the typical garlic punch (for those of you that don’t enjoy that punch and might want to gloss over this blog post).
How to use it?
Use black garlic as you would roasted garlic: puree it, sauté it or use it to add a flavorful punch to your salad dressings or marinades. Or- you can simply pop it out and spread it all over a warm, toasted crostini! The flavor is so unique, you’ll be shocked that you’re cooking with garlic!
What are the health benefits?
First, let’s briefly review the health benefits of regular ol’ garlic which is known for cancer prevention, immune boosting, blood pressure lowering, anti-coagulation, anti-septic and can even help remove a splinter (which I have yet to try but supposedly works). Research is somewhat limited on black garlic and what exists is mostly on animal models. However, what has been found is that garlic’s health benefits are amplified when using it in black garlic form. As an added benefit, it’s more palatable eaten raw when compared to regular garlic.
Ready to try?
I created a black garlic vinegar dressing and drizzled it over sautéed asparagus and leeks and it blew.my.mind! Check out the recipe below! And, because I know you’ll be hooked after trying this dressing, here are a few more ways it can be enjoyed:
Drizzled over avocado
In any kind of salad you can think of
As a marinade for fish and/or meats
Drizzled over vanilla bean ice cream or gelato
2 leeks, green removed and chopped
1 lb of asparagus, cut on a diagonal and ends snapped off
1 tbsp of olive oil
¼ cup of olive oil
4 black garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp of dijon mustard
½ cup of balsamic vinegar
//Place a sauté pan on medium heat and add olive oil// Swirl olive oil in pan until it is coated// Toss in chopped leeks until translucent and fragrant// Toss in chopped asparagus, toss until cooked but still crispy (the idea is to keep tossing and stirring asparagus so it becomes crispy and not cooked because of steam which will make it mushy)//
//Place all ingredients in food processor or blender// Dressing should be a bit thick// You can add more black garlic if you want a stronger flavor//
Final Step: Devour!
Compile your leeks and asparagus on a platter and then drizzle with black garlic vinegar dressing. To round out your meal, serve with a side of your choice of lentils/meat/fish/whole grains. Any leftover dressing can be stored in your refrigerator for up to one week.