It’s a myth that all Italian food contains garlic. In fact, most of the delicious food I ate during my recent trip in various parts of the country didn’t have garlic in it at all, and if it did I could not taste the garlic distinctly.
But yet, I am a BIG fan of garlic. Not for the “keep the vampires away” benefits of the recent Halloween holiday. Instead, I love it for it’s powerful ability to keep you from getting sick.
Garlic is a powerful anti-bacterial agent and an immune building powerhouse. It fights a good kung fu fight against colds and flus among other bacterial issues. And for this reason, it’s a great part of your regular diet if you can tolerate it, not just for the flavor but for the “health” of it.
So how do you get your garlic in without smelling like it all the time? Though I have been known to, at the first sign of feeling sick, eat a whole clove of raw garlic dipped in raw honey day after day (this works!) I won’t make you suffer the extremeness of my odd health trick, unless you want to go there.
Instead here are some tricks to get in a little garlic without even tasting it (all that much):
- Give your garlic a bath: drop peeled, whole garlic cloves in lightly boiling water for 5 minutes, then strain them out and proceed with cooking. Slice or mince the garlic after this step and use it in cooking anywhere you would use raw garlic. This is the technique I suspect was used in the dishes I tasted in Italy. Note: you can use the garlic-infused water in cooking as well!
- Let garlic taste the first dip: anytime you are sautéing or panfrying a dish with garlic, heat the oil then drop in the garlic first before any other ingredients. Allow it to cook in the oil for 1 minute before you add any other ingredients. Stir the garlic around the oil, or shake the pan. This will allow some of the “punchiness” of garlic to dissipate.
- Roast your garlic whole: heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grab a small square of foil and cut the top off a head of garlic. Place the garlic inside the foil and drizzle the top with olive oil. Close the foil and pop the garlic in the oven for 45 minutes, or until it’s very soft and you can easily squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves. Though you will still taste garlic when you use this in a recipe, it is soooo delicious and less sharp than raw garlic.