This spice is one of the most common and most divisive of spices. It has a strong-smelling bulb that has been nicknamed “the stinking rose” for good reason. It’s pungent. It’s unmistakable. It’s probably sitting in your kitchen right now.
Give up? I'm talking about garlic.
Garlic can be surprisingly tricky to cook with. The simple act of crushing it or slicing it can change the nature of a dish. Too much of it can overwhelm the other flavors in a meal and make it so no one wants to get too close to you.
Our sponsor HelloFresh is all about the responsible use of garlic. The meal kit delivery service often calls on garlic to properly spice a dish, but the instructions and amounts are designed to bring the proper amount of flavor.
Here’s how you may be using garlic wrong and what you can do with it to make it right.
Mince, slice, chop, crush
Pay attention to what a recipe calls for when it comes to prepping garlic cloves. It may ask you the mince it into tiny pieces, crush it with the flat part of a blade, or squeeze it through a garlic press. Different cutting and crushing methods release different amounts of oils. If you trust the recipe source, then try its suggested prep method to achieve the right flavor profile for the dish.
Don’t feel the burn
There’s a difference between sauteing to bring out the flavors of garlic and accidentally stepping over the line and burning it. Burnt garlic has an unpleasant bitter taste. Watch your heat and beware of adding garlic to the cooking pan too early. If you do burn the garlic, then take the time to start over.
Powdered has its place
Some people turn up their noses at the thought of powdered garlic, but it’s an incredibly useful ingredient that stars in many HelloFresh recipes, either in its pure form or as a key part of a spice mixture. HelloFresh calls it “the most used spice in our kitchen.”
Garlic powder can be much more subtle than fresh garlic, adding a dash of savory flavor to your dish. It’s perfect as a component of dry rubs for meats in BBQ recipes or in a seasoned flour mixture for dredging fish or poultry.
Raw or cooked
Most of us are familiar with using garlic in its cooked form, but some recipes call for raw garlic. Cooking mellows out garlic’s harsher flavor notes and sweetens it up a little. Used raw, you will pick up the bulb’s stronger flavors. It almost has a pepper-like feel on the tongue.
If you haven’t experimented with raw garlic and you’re curious, then toast a slice of bread, cut a garlic clove in half, and rub it across the top of the toast. Add a bit of butter if you like. You will pick up on both the pungent aroma and sharp flavor of the clove.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with raw garlic in salad dressings, salsas, and other dishes. You can always start off with a little and add more to ramp up the flavor if needed.
Garlic in moderation
Garlic-lovers may argue you can never have enough of the poignant flavor, but there is such a thing as overdoing it, especially if you’re cooking for other people. That’s one of the advantages of a HelloFresh meal kit. You get exactly the right amount of garlic for the recipe. If you’re measuring on your own, then be mindful of the size of the garlic cloves you’re using and keep an eye on what the recipe calls for.
Garlic is the one of the great spices, but it’s all about preparing and using it in a way that makes the meal sing.
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Kim uses HelloFresh to help her get healthy, flavorful meals made fast.