Have you ever tried aged black garlic?
I hadn't until a few weeks ago. At the Summer Fancy Food Show last month, my friend Veronica gave me a couple cloves of Korean aged black garlic to experiment with at home. And wow, is it versatile!
A popular ingredient in Korean cooking in recent years, black garlic gets its color and flavor from fermentation. Whole bulbs are fermented at high temperatures inside machines that regulate and change the temperature and humidity levels during the 30-day process. According to The Washington Post, the fermentation process results in high antioxidant levels and even cancer-curing properties. It's also now a hot new ingredient for chefs in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
I'm not sure about the superfood claims, but I do know that it's a great ingredient to perform all sorts of culinary experiments with. Black garlic has an earthy, tangy, and mildy sweet flavor that, unlike raw garlic, won't make you want to pop 10 breath mints immediately after eating it. Think of slow-roasted garlic that has been marinated in balsamic vinegar, if slow-roasted garlic were slightly chewy instead of super soft.
I've eaten the black garlic raw and sautéed it with scrambled eggs. Then last week I tried it in Kung Pao Chicken in place of regular garlic. Usually, you would want the other ingredients to be on the mild side so the aged garlic's flavor stands out, but I found that it really brings out the flavor of Chinese aged black vinegar in the kung pao sauce. So if you're cooking with black garlic for the first time, a good place to start would be the many different kung pao recipes in the recipe archive.
Next up is a noodle recipe using black garlic, but in the meantime, here are a few other recipes you can try: