When you live in a place like Port Hedland, you come to accept that we don’t have Farmer’s Markets, Delicatessens, Premium Butchers, Asian Grocers or Gourmet Food Stores. We have the average supermarket, with the normal kind of produce that is delivered via truck a few times a week from long distances all over the country. Now I’m not complaining (well alright, maybe a little), but when you live somewhere remote, where its hot, dusty and 260km from the next real town, you’re just not likely to find anything extraordinary.
So when I saw black garlic on the shelf at Woolworths I have to say I was pretty surprised. Maybe you city folk have seen it before, but up here in Hedland it was like a mystery celebrity had come to town (well that’s what it was like for me anyhow, I am a bit obsessed with all things food). Ooh, this is new, but what exactly is it? Why is it here? It seemed exotic, dark, mysterious; tempting me to buy it and take it home and make it my own.
So that’s what I did. I tasted it, and whoa it is intense. Not in a pungent garlicky way, but it has a rich, caramel, almost sweet balsamic flavour with the texture of licorice. I’m hooked. Black garlic is delicious simply smeared on some toasted bread, or as part of a cheese platter. As with great wine, the ageing process does amazing things for the humble garlic bulb.
Black garlic has such a heady, evocative flavour that you don’t want to hide it. It should stand out in the dish. My natural instinct is to make a simple pasta dish and use the black garlic as the punch of flavour. A little chilli, parsley and a squeeze of lemon and here is a beautiful dish that is on the table in less than 10 minutes. Quick, simple, easy, delicious and full of sweet caramelly molasses garlic flavour… and just a little bit cheffy. It’s black magic!