Garlic Varietals: How to Find, Prep and Create the Best Flavor with Every Clove
Summer recipes do well with a kick of flavor to balance the hearty fruits and vibrant greens that grace your bowl. Garlic is one addition that is both versatile and inexpensive; from scape (stem) to root (bulb), garlic makes every bite more lively.
While the average grocery store carries only one varietal - softneck garlic, there are many more varietals that are worth exploring. Learning the differences in flavor can provide a pinch of something different in an otherwise traditional dish.
Different Types of Garlic
Traditional softneck garlic possesses the mellow white flesh we know and love. Although interchangeable in a range of dishes, this varietal is best suited for stir fries, creamy pasta and vegetable-based dips. Softneck works well with recipes that require a quick fry or recipes that match the heat with cream and other savory ingredients. They are noted by the lack of a hard, central stem and contain between eight to sixteen cloves per bulb.
Others boast a large profile, such as elephant garlic. Its individual cloves are akin to the size of an entire head of the softneck variety. Elephant garlic shines particularly well when slow roasted - the skin to flesh ratio being more in favor of the spreadable nature of caramelized cloves. Although technically a member of the hardneck family, it’s size distinguishes elephant garlic from other varietals. Each bulb contains no more than five cloves and is roughly two inches high.
Hardneck garlic is aptly named for the presence of the central stem, or neck. Although this varietal has only four to twelve cloves per bulb, each packs more punch than that of a softneck. The flesh and outer skin is often streaked with pink and purple when fresh and works incredibly well as an accompaniment for roasts, slow cooked sauces and freshly made meats and pates.
A Few More Roots (and Scapes)
Two uncommon varietals are black garlic and creole garlic. The first has gained momentum in western cooking although often found in Korean dishes. It is actually the same as any other garlic bulb but has been caramelized and fermented, resulting in a sweet undertone with a hint of vinegar. It can be shaved and served over poached eggs or served with mild fish. Although there are techniques for achieving this at home, we recommend purchasing the end product. See The Steamy Kitchen's recipe for black garlic and scallops.
Creole garlic is aptly named, for both its color and spiciness. Its vibrant reddish-pink flesh does well with fish and shellfish, married with rice or pasta, and can be a great addition if you’re looking for more heat in a given dish.
The last part of garlic we have yet to explore are scapes, or stems. These are beautiful placed atop grilled meats and fish or featured in pasta. Known for their curlicue tops and mild flavor, you can add them to virtually any recipe without worrying about overtaking the other ingredients.
How to Prep Garlic; Create the Flavor You’re Trying to Achieve
Knowing how to best flavor your recipe will determine your best strategy. Before you turn on the burner, garlic must be prepped accordingly - how you slice it matters.
Garlic is much like an onion - the more cells you rupture directly correlated to the intensity of flavor. Consider your current garlic technique - how much liquid emerges from your prep. If there’s a significant amount of weeping on the cutting board, chances are it’s going to be intense in flavor and heat.
Zesting or grating the clove ruptures the most cells. Achieved with a Microplane, it’s one of the quickest ways to reduce garlic to a pulp. This technique may be quick but it’s also likely to burn your tastebuds unless properly implemented. It is suited to dips and creamy sauces like mayonnaise - cooking is no match for the heat this brings. See Cuisinart's recipe for bruschetta.
There are several forms of garlic presses, some with a lever, some with a rocking motion. This technique is also high up there in terms of convenience, the concept being to push the clove through a sieve or grate. Although this still brings a bit of heat, it’s nowhere near to zesting. This technique works well with slow roasted sauces, soups or baked dishes. When selecting a garlic press, be sure to find one that is dishwasher safe and easily comes apart for cleaning. See New York Times's Cooking for garlic soup.
Mortar and pestles aren’t on every kitchen countertop (though they should be for their versatility). You would think that grinding garlic would rupture more cells than pressing but this technique surprisingly yields a mellower flavor than pressing or zesting. This works well in dips, quick fries, pastes or roasts although the texture will play a definite role depending on how the pulp is incorporated.
Chop & Mince
The classic chef’s knife does wonders; it by far produces the best flavor with minimal heat. Slice off the root end of each clove, smash the flesh with the flat of your knife and chop away. Although we love the convenience of the aforementioned techniques, this particular prep method is by far our preference.
As you likely assumed, all techniques above require peeling the clove prior to prepping (with the exception of the press if you’re in a hurry). If you plan to use all the cloves at once, the container method works well. Place the whole head in a shakeable, sealable container. Shake - a lot. The cloves will come apart from the bulb and the skins will peel off. Discard skins and proceed with selected prep technique. If you’re looking to use one or two cloves at a time, set the bulb on a firm surface and smash the heel of your hand on the bulb. The individual cloves will separate and you can prep what you'd like and save the rest for later.
Turning up the Heat
It is important to pinpoint the flavor you’re trying to achieve. As you begin to roast, fry, sauté, barbecue or even chill your garlic-infused recipe, consider whether you want a strong dose of heat or a melt-in-your-mouth softness. Garlic is dramatically affected by how long and how high the heat is. In a soup or roasted dish, the longer cooking time results in a mellower melded flavor. Cooking with high heat has the same result, although beware as garlic can overcook and burn, lending a chewy, off-flavor that’s difficult to pass off as intentional.
For dishes that require a kick, prepare and cook other ingredients until just shy of finished (about three-five minutes) and toss minced or chopped garlic in the pan, letting it sear and warm through. If using high heat, reduce the time to two-three minutes. The garlic should have spice and flavor-filled heat without tasting too green or burning the tastebuds.
You can also opt not to cook the garlic at all. Garlic can be an amazing component for dips and spreads. Pesto, non-traditional tapenade, or an herbed cheese dip; when married with creamy or herbaceous ingredients, the intensity melts into the other ingredients, forming a savory, delectable topping. As with any cold dish, flavors marry better over time. Allow to sit in the fridge for three hours, or overnight, for maximum flavor.
Thank you to our friends at Microplane for inspiring us with their sharp edges, Serious Eats for their endless knowledge, Cuisinart, Bon Appetit and The New York Times Cooking for their supply of delicious recipes, the Garlic Farm for information on the many available varietals, and The Steamy Kitchen for exploring unique ingredients including black garlic.
Paul Morelli | the theatrical genius
July 17 & 18 Four Seasons Resort Teton Village
July 19 & 20 Amangani
July 21 & 22 Belle Cose Town Square
Inspired by the century-old, artistic family tradition of theater, Paul Morelli followed his own passion for art, intricate detail, and metallurgy and transformed the family operation into a ne jewelry business.
Each step of the creative process takes place under Paul’s discerning eye in the manufacturing atelier in Philadelphia where the family has operated for over a century.
Join us July 17 & 18 at the Four Seasons Resort, July 19 & 20 at the Amangani, and July 21 & 22 at Belle Cose Town Square.
Gumuchian | for women, by women
July 17 & 18 Belle Cose Town Square
July 19 Four Seasons Resort Teton Village
Owned and operated by Anita Gumuchian and her daughters, Myriam and Patricia, the boutique jeweler is proud to design and produce the entire collection in house.
Created by women, for women, the Gumuchian name represents exquisiteness, classic design, meticulous attention to detail, and uncompromising quality and comfort.
Gumuchian represents the European craftsmanship and superior design treasured by true cognoscenti.
To own a piece from their collection is to own a precious work of art. Join us July 17 & 18 at Belle Cose on Town Square and July 19th at the Four Seasons Resort Teton Village.
Phillips House | the mother and daughter
July 19 & 20 Belle Cose Town Square
July 21 & 22 Four Seasons Resort Teton Village
With a playfully irreverent design and a classically chic aesthetic, mother and daughter designers, Lisa Phillips Frankel and Danielle Frankel Nemiroff, are inspired by a passion for classic architectural design and a natural penchant for the arts.
Within a week of their launch six years ago, Phillips House landed the cover of legendary fashion publication Women’s Wear Daily.
Worn by sophisticated women throughout the world, including former First Lady Michelle Obama during her historic meeting with the Queen of England, the collection is a delightful addition to our trunk show portfolio.
Join us July 19 & 20 at Belle Cose Town Square and July 21 & 22 at the Four Seasons Resort Teton Village.
Well-Equipped Kitchen: Knife Knowledge - Part Two
The Three Knives Every Kitchen Needs
Whether upgrading or just beginning your knife collection, it's important to be prepared for any task. From slicing peppers to cutting into a crusty loaf of bread, versatility is of the utmost importance. Instead of creating a knife block with 9+ tools, start with the three essential knives every kitchen needs and build your remaining collection based on your needs.
The Chef's Knife
Known as the workhorse and by far the most versatile blade, the chef's knife can often be found on the countertop during, before or after every meal. This blade comes in a variety of sizes and shapes but the rocking motion it allows makes a quick task of chopping, mincing, and dicing. The height of the blade allows a rocking motion and the surface area accommodates a higher volume to be manipulated with each chop. Experienced chefs prefer a longer blade, 8-10" as they're comfortable with the weight, length and need to work with larger amounts of food. For the home cook, it is imperative to assess blades in person for comfort, feel and length. We recommend selecting the longest blade you feel comfortable with as the longer the blade the more versatile it will be.
One last thing to consider is the selection of a solid blade or a Granton blade which has small divots or holes along the bottom of the blade. Consider the foods you often work with. If you enjoy fileting fish or are often baking and need to dice butter, the hollow option would be a good choice. The break in the surface area allows for foods to break more easily from the blade, essentially a non-stick option.
The Paring Knife
Where the Chef's knife masters large tasks and makes quick work of chopping, the paring knife is adept at fine details and dexterity. From peeling a potato to de-seeding peppers and deveining shrimp, this blade is just as essential despite its small size. The one huge advantage to the paring knife is the ability to manipulate food in your hands vs using a cutting board. As with all sharp objects, we encourage caution and a mastery of technique when peeling hard-skinned fruits and vegetables but the advantage is paramount.
The Serrated Knife
Often referred to as bread knives, serrated knives are adept at cutting into any overly soft or firm food. This blade's strength is derived from its design. The bottom of the curve acts as spikes, cutting into the food, while the guiles, or scoops up into the blade, help to reduce friction as it cuts. Unlike the other blades, the serrated knife works best when used with less pressure and a sawing motion. Think sweet bread, soft fruit, and delicate cake - this blade will do what the chef and paring knives simply cannot accomplish.
As with anything, knives vary widely in quality and cost. Be prepared to spend between $125-$350 for your perfect slicing companion and under $50 for a replaceable serrated blade. The staff at Belle Cose is available to answer any questions and help you select the ideal blade to add to your block. It's important to see and feel the knife before you decide what's best for you. A good purchase is well worth the investment.
Thank you to our friends at Wusthof Knives for their expertise.
Check out our previous installment - "Knife Knowledge Part One" to help you select the best quality blade. Visit us here every Monday to find out What's Cooking. Find us on Facebook and Instagram for more inspiration and tips on living life beautifully.
Well-Equipped Kitchen: Knife Knowledge - Part One
Knives used for chopping meats & cheeses or slicing into a ripe tomato are vastly different. A well-equipped kitchen possesses the knives you need to tackle everyday tasks as well as special occasions. Although the type of dishes you commonly prepare determines the best knives for your block, the following guidelines will help you choose the best way to select a blade.
Feeling the Heft of the Knife
First, you must hold the knife. Find the bolster - the place where the blade connects to the handle and offers a convenient place to rest the index finger. Look for a knife that balances in your hand as you grip the bolster. The heavier the handle, the longer the tang (the length of the blade that extends into the handle). If not fully balanced, this can indicate that the tang is tapered or partial. This weight and heft will determine your precision with the knife; how fast you can chop, dice and slice. If it's unbalanced or lacking a firm weighted feel appropriate to the size, you'll end up doing more work.
Serrated or Non-Serrated?
Soft-fleshed items such as tomatoes need a well-sharpened and/or serrated knife. Cucumbers, on the other hand, can suffice with a straight everyday blade. Either knife would work for a smorgasbord of cheese and cured meats. The main consideration is how often the knife will be used - serrated knives don’t take to sharpening as well over time so you would be best suited to purchase a knife that you could replace within a few years. A straight blade, on the other hand, can last several years if properly cared for. In the next part of this series, we'll discuss a mix of knives to meet all needs and budgets.
How to Care for your Knives
As mentioned above, a dull blade makes for extra work. Knives should be sharpened every three months at minimum, more so if regularly used. If you’re uncomfortable with sharpening blades on your own, a local kitchen shop or knife craftsman is a great resource. Be sure to ask when to expect them returned - some services can take up to two weeks. To reduce the chance of dulling your knives, store them properly with the use of a knife block, drawer insert or magnetic wall mount, all of which come in a range of finishes and appearance.
As with anything, knives vary widely in quality and cost. Be prepared to spend between $125-$350 for your perfect carving companion and under $50 for a replaceable serrated blade. The staff at Belle Cose is available to answer any questions and help you select the ideal blade to add to your block. It's important to see and feel the knife before you decide what's best for you. A good purchase is well worth the investment.
Look for the next installment in the series - "the three knives every kitchen needs" and visit us here every Monday to find out What's Cooking. Find us on Facebook and Instagram for more inspiration and tips on living life beautifully.
What's New at Belle Cose?
Celebrate the summer & entertain beautifully with these new arrivals.
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Brighten up your summer party with Mario Luca Giusti's vibrant serving pieces and glassware. Guests will be captivated by their chic and festive pop of color while added durability will assure your mind is at ease.
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Adding simple greenery inside these Simon Pearce jars when extra room allows is an easy and sophisticated way to style a summer table.
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Celebrate all things Jackson Hole with Nancy Liston's delightful hand painted collection. Perfect for festive entertaining, or as hostess gifts, each piece captures the spirit of our special little mountain town.
The Basics: Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Five Ways
Simple recipes can be the most difficult to master, the essential hardboiled egg the epitome. From green rings to an undercooked white, even the peeling process can be a pain. In this case, the trick lies in the method itself.
For the exact science and more foolproof techniques, head over to Serious Eats, a food blog by Kenji-Lopez. He suggests steaming the eggs instead of placing them directly in boiling water. The result is a perfect hard-steamed egg, every time.
Bring one inch of water to boil in a large pot. Place a steamer basket or metal colander atop the pot. Once boiling, gently lower the eggs into the colander/basket in a single layer and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 12 minutes (or 6 minutes if you prefer soft-steamed).
If you plan to eat them immediately, peel them under cold running water. If you're using them in a recipe for later, place them in a bowl of ice water for a minimum of 15 minutes. This prevents the eggs from continuing to cook and helps solidify them.
As for ideas of how to feature these steamed beauties, read on:
Roughly chop them and mix with your favorite grilled vegetables, olive oil, and seasoning. Serve atop a bed of fresh arugula or frisee for a warm, hearty salad.
Mash them with mustard and mayonnaise for an egg spread (baguette and jalapenos optional)
Sauté freshly slice prosciutto with minced garlic, basil, and chopped kale. Top with sliced egg. For the perfect way to slice with no mess, see our OXO Good Grips egg slicer.
Slice and top with salt, pepper and green onion. Serve atop avocado and whole-grain bread.
Deviled eggs are a breeze if you have six hard-steamed eggs ready to go. The variations are endless, our favorite being to mash the yolks with onion powder, stone ground mustard and homemade mayonnaise. Serve with sliced cherry tomatoes and a sprig of parsley.
With so many fabulous finds delivered daily to each store, it’s more than a challenge to narrow down our favorites (but somehow, we managed).
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Monica Rich Kossan | Marilyn Yellow Gold Link Bracelet With Diamond Pave
Monica's heaviest, most substantial chain is updated to add a subtle sparkle to this classic style with a diamond pave link.
This 18k gold bracelet can be worn alone or be a dramatic starting point to building your charm collection.
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Farmhouse Pottery | Cheese Stones
The perfect hostess gift! Place it in the oven to warm soft cheese
or store it in the freezer to serve on a hot day.
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August Morgan | Cocktail Napkins
Who doesn't enjoy a little humor with their beverage of choice?
Ray Griffiths | the king of crownwork
July 26 & 27 Amangani
July 28 & 29 Belle Cose Town Square
July 30 & 31 Four Seasons Resort Teton Village
Ray Griffiths began his illustrious career with an apprenticeship to the jewelry masters and tiara makers at legendary Dunklings Jewellers in Melbourne, Australia. Renowned for exquisitely detailed metalwork, Ray’s designs retain immense visual weight while remaining airy and light.
Drawing inspiration from archi- tecture and antiquity, each miniature masterpiece calls to mind regal jewelry adorned in Renaissance courts. It is no surprise The New York Times called his signature crownwork gold lattice work, “reminiscent of Faberge Eggs.”
Add one of Ray's legendary pieces to your jewelry collection this June at the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ray will also be in Jackson, Wyoming July 26th - 31st at the Amangani, Four Seasons and our Belle Cose Town Square location.