Monday, September 6, 2010

Stovetop Fun

This may be the weirdest food photo I've ever taken. Take a guess at what it is…

Here, I'll give you a hint.

Small pot, peeled cloves of garlic, about a cup of
extra-virgin olive oil, over low heat

I love my recipe for Caesar dressing. But darned if it doesn't sometimes give me a little trouble in the gastrointestinal department (this is the same department I work in as a dietitian). So I wanted to mellow the garlicky sharpness of the dressing a little by using roasted garlic, but it was too hot to turn on the oven. Anyway, what a huge waste of energy it would have been to use the whole oven for a few cloves of garlic. Even if I were roasting an entire head of garlic, it would be a tad self-indulgent. Better to wait until I have the oven on for something else to go that route.

Instead, I used a method my husband taught me for simulating roasted garlic. By slowly simmering the garlic cloves in olive oil, I could get a pretty good approximation of roasted garlic and also have a garlic-infused olive oil to use in the Caesar dressing… double the garlic flavor AND double the fun! And by "fun," I mean, look at these crazy photos! They were the fun part.

Streams of bubbles beginning to show…
Trippy how the natural light is giving the metal a bluish cast

With the flash, you can see the individual bubbles

Bubblin' like a hot springs

Blisters forming on the surface of the cloves

This is where it starts to get weird, as the sun goes down
and the light grows dim in the kitchen

Blue and gold were my high school colors

Garlic goes supernova (or I forgot to focus the camera)

Making this stovetop "roasted" garlic is very easy and low-maintenance. Just bring the oil and garlic cloves to a simmer over low heat. Use as many cloves as you want, as long as you also use enough olive oil to cover the cloves. Continue to simmer until the cloves start to look a little dehydrated and wrinkly, and maybe even a little golden. They should be quite soft at this point.

When you judge it to be finished, transfer the cloves and oil to a bowl or jar and cool uncovered in the fridge (unless you are using it immediately in a hot dish). For my Caesar dressing, I used the cooked garlic cloves and added a couple of raw ones, since it's not the same without a little bit of garlic bite.

Sorry, no pictures of the finished product. However, in my next post, you can see it doing its thing behind the scenes in a Caesar salad topped with stovetop "roasted" asparagus. Yes, there's a theme here.

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