We think of fall as pepper season, tomato season, corn season…. Garlic is also in season, and if you grow your own, it's time to plant it — tuck individual cloves, separated from the bulb but not peeled, pointy side up about three inches deep in the soil.
Mid-late September is perfect timing, giving the cloves a chance to establish roots before the ground freezes.
If you're harvesting your garlic, give it about a month to cure — hang it in bundles from the stems somewhere cool and dry until the stalks are completely stiff and dry.
Locally grown garlic is wonderfully potent, and you may find you don't need as much as you would generally use if you were cooking with grocery store garlic.
To preserve the garlic you grew yourself or picked up at the farmers' market, you can freeze it — separate the cloves but leave them in their skins and freeze in a sturdy container or double-bagged freezer bags, or purée your garlic with a little oil and freeze in spoonfuls on plastic wrap, then roll up and twist between each spoonful like a string of candies.
You can also pickle your garlic (which will mellow it out a bit, but it won't taste pickled), or make garlic confit: cover peeled or unpeeled cloves with oil in a saucepan and heat until the garlic turns pale golden and soft.
Cool and store in the fridge — the garlic will be soft and mellow, and the garlicky oil is perfect for cooking things where you don't want chopped or grated fresh garlic to burn, like naan.
Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce)
This fluffy, creamy, garlicky sauce is simple to make in a food processor, and delicious on just about everything. (Julie Van Rosendaal)
This fluffy, creamy, garlicky sauce is simple to make in a food processor, and delicious on just about everything.
3/4 -1 cup peeled garlic cloves
2 tsp. kosher salt or 1 tsp. fine salt
3 cups canola or other neutral oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
If any of your garlic cloves have green tips, cut them in half lengthwise and pull the green sprouting bits out of the middle.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the garlic and salt until finely minced. Add a small pour of oil — about two or three tablespoons — and pulse, scraping down the side of the bowl, until you have a paste.
LISTEN | Julie Van Rosendaal talks about cooking with garlic:
With the motor running, gradually pour in a bit of the lemon juice, then a bit of the oil, and continue alternating between lemon juice and some oil, doing it slowly as the mixture emulsifies, until it's thick and fluffy and all the lemon juice and oil has been incorporated.
It should take close to 10 minutes. Store in the fridge for up to two months.
Makes: About 4 cups.
Garlicky Tahini Caesar Salad on Garlic Toast (or Focaccia)
This wonderfully garlicky dressing is made with tahini and both fresh and roasted garlic. (Julie Van Rosendaal)
This wonderfully garlicky dressing is made with tahini and both fresh and roasted garlic; it comes from a cookbook called Salad Pizza Wine, from the popular Montreal restaurant Elena.
I tossed it with chopped romaine and Parmesan curls and pile it onto a piece of garlic toast (or alongside a wedge of toasted focaccia) because the best part of a Caesar salad, besides the dressing, is the croutons.
Elena's version is made with radicchio and baby kale.
Garlic cloves can vary wildly in size and intensity; the original recipe calls for 12 cloves, but if yours are enormous and potent, dial it back a bit.
Tahini Caesar dressing
6-12 cloves garlic, divided
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1-2 tsp. grainy or Dijon mustard
¾ tsp. kosher salt
2/3 cup canola oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan (or make curls with a vegetable peeler)
Garlicky croutons, garlic toast or toasted wedges of focaccia
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place all but one or two garlic cloves on a square of foil, drizzle with about three tablespoons of olive oil and fold it up into a pouch, sealing it well to prevent oil and steam from escaping.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, until the garlic is soft and golden. You can do this while something else is baking or roasting. Open the pouch and let the garlic cool.
To preserve the garlic you grew yourself or picked up at the farmers’ market, you can freeze and store it for later. (Julie Van Rosendaal)
In a small blender or food processor, combine the tahini, roasted garlic and any oil in the packet, the remaining raw garlic, red wine vinegar, mustard, salt and a couple tablespoons of water.
Pulse to combine. With the motor running, gradually add the canola oil and then the olive oil until the mixture is thick and emulsified.
Season with pepper and add more salt, if it needs it. If it's very thick, add a bit more water.
Toss romaine with as much dressing as you like, along with some freshly grated Parmesan, and either top with croutons or pile onto a piece of garlic toast or toasted wedges of focaccia. Top with extra Parmesan.
Serves: As many as you like.