Garlic: Good And Bad

I would cheerfully eat garlic at every meal. Raw, sautéed, in sauces, roasted with oil and spread on good bread, and my favorite, cooked gently in olive oil and tossed with pasta. Yes, I know, this will sometimes make me smell like a large walking clove, but I’ll put up with the social rejection because it tastes so good. I remember making a dish of penne with garlic and cauliflower (odoriferous in its own right!) and realizing after I finished the entire batch for lunch that I would be sitting next to another human being at work for the next several hours, in a small office, training him on a new system. Ouch.

I usually buy only one bulb at a time. I haven’t found a source for really good garlic, and I dislike the typical green-cored cloves that I routinely get. The garlic isn’t particularly fresh, and it is beginning to sprout, so I will cut the clove in half and remove the green sprout. But it still leaves me with a clove that is a bit stronger, and sharper, in flavor than I would prefer. I was spoiled when I lived in California, less than 100 miles from Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world. The bulbs that I bought were dense and firm and were not dried out, and they did not have any of the browning that I find typical of garlic grown on the East Coast. The garlic itself seemed sweeter, with less of the pungency that most of us are used to. I am sure that top-quality garlic can be found, and if anyone has a source in the New York area, I will be in your debt if you would share your secret with me.

2 Replies to “Garlic: Good And Bad”

  1. I think the NY/NJ grown variety known as hard neck , not sure about this, is great. Smaller, reddish skin, awesome fragrance and flavor. Whole Foods, hit and miss on that.

  2. I remember reading an article a few years ago in the NY Times about locally grown garlic. I had high hopes, but I haven’t tasted anything to rival the stuff from Gilroy. I’ll look for “hard neck,” and if it is good you’ll be able to smell me a mile away!

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