Vampires are not invited.
September 30, 2015 5:52 PM   Subscribe

There are many, many varieties of garlic available at my local farmers’ market. I decided to throw a garlic-tasting party. The general idea is to pick the best-tasting garlic variety(ies) to plant in my back yard this fall. I need your ideas on what to cook.

I’m expecting about 8 people. I’m thinking of picking 4-5 varieties and cooking the same dishes with different varieties. So far, I am thinking roasted garlic, minced garlic mixed in goat cheese, and bruschetta (I have lots of tomatoes!). However – all of these would require my guests to eat a lot of bread, so I probably want to serve something else. What other things should I try?

I’ve already seen this thread and the garlic soup sounds really tasty … despite the 2 hour cooking time (hopefully it can be re-heated in the microwave? I cannot imagine using that many pots at the same time!). I hope to be able to scale down the 40-clove chicken, as so many people have recommended it. Any thoughts about that one?
Restrictions: Vegetarian is generally best. I prefer to avoid red meat and will not cook with pork. I’m a fairly competent cook and have a reasonably well-equipped kitchen, but only 4 burners on my stove.

Bonus question 0 - This is going to be a lot of garlic. How do we cleanse our palettes? My first thought was bland crackers, but again – this is additional bread. I read suggestions of parsley springs and of lemon sorbet. Do these work? Anything else that would be more appealing?

Bonus question 1 – do you have suggestions for criteria for evaluation of the garlics? Free-form? 1-10 scale on heat, garlic-ness?

Bonus question 2 – what is YOUR favorite garlic variety? Taste mainly, but I’d love to hear about the easiness of growing opinions too.

Bonus question 3 – dessert?
posted by Dotty to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Different varieties of garlic will taste better in different dishes. Maybe rather than ranking them, have your guests come up with some descriptive taxonomy?

As another recipe option: I enjoy a cold cannelini bean, garlic, and rosemary salad (cook the cannelini beans then cool in the fridge, or use canned but rinse well; use raw slivered garlic - less than you would use cooked! - and fresh rosemary, and a good light-tasting, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil). Hummous can also be served with vegis instead of bread.
posted by eviemath at 6:11 PM on September 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Recipe idea: Lettuce-garlic stir fry would be a very different test, because it's about a sauteed flash-cook rather than a roasted or stewed garlic flavor. But harder to do on the spot, except if you did a reheat, which actually wouldn't be bad. Not ideal for presenting the dish at its best, but it would be fine, and wouldn't affect the purpose, which is tasting garlics. (ps - reheating soup would be totally fine!)

Technique idea: Find a 40-clove chicken recipe that's pan-sear, add liquid and garlic, and bake. Put it in the cups of a muffin pan, each cup with its own garlic cloves, and distribute the (seared boneless) chicken and wine/broth/liquid among them, cover tightly with foil and bake (and tuck the foil down to reduce comingling of the steam drips, though that's hardly a major issue.) Especially if you have one of those modern giant-muffin pans or a popovers pan instead of my mom's old-fashioned dainty sized cupcake tray.

Serving idea: get a firm dense baguette and slice it as thin as possible, so you're maximizing surface area for smearing things on, with the least amount of "filled up on bread". Or crackers, but definitely not fluffy or crumbly bread that requires thick slices.

Gardening comments: varieties of garlic don't really matter except in the difference between overall types softneck and hardneck, namely the fact that you don't get a garlic scape harvest from softneck.
posted by aimedwander at 6:50 PM on September 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Tzatziki. I'm sure I'm terrible, but I just mince garlic and cucumber and mix in to yoghurt. Takes about 2 minutes. I gather people use lemon juice and herbs also, but I'm all about the garlic.
posted by pompomtom at 7:03 PM on September 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

(BTW: I love your garlic party idea. Genius.)
posted by pompomtom at 7:05 PM on September 30, 2015

Best answer: One of my favorite ways to take in raw garlic is the yogurt in this recipe so I'd say buy a bag of small yellow potatoes, cut them into little chunks, roast them up golden, and then let your guests try them with garlic yogurt made from all the different kinds of garlic. Easy to get a small sample of each, a fairly bland base upon which to stand the garlic flavor, and no complex cooking needed. 3 ingredients (6 if you count salt, pepper, and olive oil).
posted by komara at 7:22 PM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Grilled garlic shrimp. Few ingredients, very garlic-y. Marinade overnight, cooks fast.
posted by flimflam at 7:38 PM on September 30, 2015

I went to a garlic party a few years ago! It was sort of the opposite of this. Small farmer had lots of garlic in multiple varieties, needed to use it. That was a ton of fun.

The most memorable dishes for me were the roasted garlic (there were delicious leftovers and I ate them) and the garlic scapes pesto.
posted by aniola at 8:19 PM on September 30, 2015

This is similar to komara's suggestion but doesn't add another starch: maybe omit the eggs from this (crazy good) recipe, and just do the garlic yogurt over sauteed greens with a little chili oil?
posted by dizziest at 9:18 PM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Recipes: +1 for garlic shrimp (or prawns as we Australians call them) and also garlic guacamole.
posted by Mimosa at 10:44 PM on September 30, 2015

Best answer: Skordalia, obviously. Serve with beets for a lighter snack, or fried cod for a sit-down meal.

Also at this level of garlic consumption be prepared for your guests to be falling asleep afterwards.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:30 PM on September 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Deep fried garlic cloves are so good. Boil them briefly first to cook them through. Here's one recipe, but really any batter will will do.
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:21 AM on October 1, 2015

I just have one caution to add, which I hope isn't too much of a non-answer to stay. My experience has taught me that it's possible to eat enough garlic that it will turn you off it for years. I loved garlic in every form, so one day, at my favorite burger joint, I ordered the garlic burger. It came topped with a rather startling amount of raw garlic, but I was into it, so I ate it all. I breathed and sweated garlic for days. After that, I couldn't bear even a hint of garlic in anything for a year or two, and to this day, many years later, I only like it in smallish amounts, and next to none if it's raw. I'd hate for this tragedy to befall you or your guests, and (several dishes) x (4-5 varieties) sounds like a lot of garlic, so I thought I'd let you know!
posted by daisyace at 6:39 AM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Roasted eggplant slices will be a lovely vehicle for many garlicky things, though I especially like tzatziki with it. Maybe raw red pepper slices for the goat cheese? Actually, a selection of raw and roasted vegetables might be a good counterpoint to the bread.

You could also do hummus: one with roasted garlic, one with raw.

Garlic soup is delightful and reheats fine, though I prefer gentle stovetop reheating to microwave.

Dessert: Garlic Ice Cream
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:05 AM on October 1, 2015

Different garlics will probably have different reactions to various cooking techniques. You may find one garlic is best raw, another roasted, etc. So I'd choose dishes that use garlic in different ways (I'd opt for roasted and sauteed because that's how I like to eat garlic) and have each form of garlic rated separately.
posted by metasarah at 8:34 AM on October 1, 2015

Aioli is a great way to showcase the subtleties of raw garlic flavor for a tasting. The basic recipe is mashing garlic with a bit of salt and lemon until it's a paste, and then slooooowly adding oil. It's like a no-egg mayonnaise. It's so neat!

You can probably convince your guests to help with the mashing if you want a more hands-on kind of party. I've done this before and people really seem to like it. It doesn't take as much work as you might think. It comes together in under 10 minutes, most of which is done with a hand mixer.

Serve it with good crusty bread for dipping and maybe some sliced tomato.
posted by ananci at 9:07 AM on October 1, 2015

When I lived in Estonia, the bars would serve strips of deep-fried black bread, with cloves of raw garlic (and I think maybe an optional yoghurty herby dip).

You hold a strip of bread in one hand and rub a clove of garlic vigorously up and down it. The bread is solid enough not to fall apart and hard enough that the holes act a bit like a grater, leaving a fine layer of raw garlic over the surface.

This looks like a Lithuanian version but they're rubbing the garlic on before cooking - I'd suggest letting people do their own after frying the bread - it's fun, and they can do as much or little as they want.

See also - pic on this page of triangular slices served as I remember it, with unashamed naked cloves on the plate!
posted by penguin pie at 2:40 PM on October 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Blend one cup of pasta sauce with several heads of roasted garlic. It's such a tasty dip, I ate it straight.
posted by aniola at 4:17 PM on October 7, 2015

« Older When did they stop selling black and white...   |   Fetzer Eagle Peak Merlot for the iPhone? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.