Looking for a new flavor profile to add to your soups, stews, and salad dressings? Try black garlic, a fermented form of garlic. “It’s a different dimension of garlic,” says Lindsay Fastiggi, owner of Spice Revolution, a local spice purveyor. Black garlic is produced when hardneck garlic is kept in a humidity- and temperature-controlled environment for up to 18 weeks. Unlike kimchi which undergoes microbial changes as a result of fermentation, here the term fermentation is used to generally refer to the overall change in the garlic. The cloves are transformed into a black, sticky, sweet paste with balsamic and earthy overtones and a subtle garlic flavor. An added health benefit, the process doubles the amount of antioxidants in the garlic. It’s best used in Asian cooking, mild dishes, or along with regular garlic for depth of flavor as Fastiggi does in her gravy and in her bone broth. Even simply spreading the cloves on a crusty loaf makes for killer instant garlic bread.
A historical review reveals disputed origins of black garlic — the Koreans and others lay claim to it — and although frequently used in restaurant cooking, “for some reason as a household spice it hasn’t quite gotten there yet,” says Fastiggi. “But we do our job to spread the word. Once you’ve had it, you’re like, ‘what is this and why have I not been using this forever?’”
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Find black garlic at Spice Revolution’s booth at the Pleasantville Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8:30 -1 p.m. or at www.spicerevolution.com.
Black Garlic Vinaigrette
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
4-5 cloves of black garlic
1 small shallot, roughly minced
pinch of salt
2 grinds or a pinch of black pepper
Put all ingredients in a bowl of an immersion blender and combine thoroughly. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.