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Issue No 98
Spring 2004 
page 22

Many fear eating raw garlic will make them offensive to others. But there's something to be said for sharing. If everyone around you has eaten garlic, no one will notice your breath.

Gilroy, California, "Garlic Capitol of the World." celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of its Garlic Festival this year. On July 23-25, garlic food of every type imaginable (yes, even garlic ice cream) will figure in Gilroy's Gourmet Alley eating extravaganza. For more information and directions, visit
www.gilroygarlicfestival.com

The French make garlic toast by spreading puree of fresh garlic on lightly toasted, buttered bread. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and place under broiler until brown.

 
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clove releases an enzyme that converts the allin into allicin, the constituent that gives garlic its strong odor, medicinal properties, and taste.

The Roman poet Horace hated the smell of raw garlic and considered it a sign of vulgarity; centuries later Shakespeare was in complete agreement. As a general tonic, though, garlic should be consumed fresh and raw. Many fear eating raw garlic will make them offensive to others. But there’s something to be said for sharing. If everyone around you has eaten garlic, no one will notice your breath. (Otherwise, chew a few sprigs of fresh parsley, a cardamom seed, a few leaves of fresh mint or, better yet, a few whole coffee beans.) Today, garlic capsules have helped solve the odor “problem,” and they continue to rank among the top-selling supplements in health food stores.

The past few decades have seen a quiet and unproclaimed garlic renaissance, with the rediscovery of just how much garlic can improve our health and turn our dull foods into culinary delights. I offer the following recipes in the hope they inspire a celebratory garlic feast. What better way to honor the International Herb Society’s 2004 Herb of the Year?

Recipes
Fabulous Fish
You’ll never have to eat boring fish again if you prepare it this way: Lay the fish in an oven-proof dish that’s lightly greased with extra virgin olive oil. Surround it with 2 to 4 garlic cloves chopped into large pieces, then sprinkle with lemon juice, 1/8cup dry white wine, salt, and a good grating of freshly ground black pepper. Place in a medium oven, basting occasionally, until done. Serve hot with 3 small boiled new potatoes and sprigs of fresh parsley as garnish.

Grateful Greens
In Italy, saltata greens, or “jumped” greens, are a favorite way of preparing pre-cooked spinach, chard, chicory, or dandelion. Simply squeeze out any extra water from the greens, toss in a hot frying pan with extra virgin olive oil, 2 tiny hot red peppers, and several cloves of garlic. When garlic turns golden and the greens begin to brown, add salt and serve hot with crusty bread.

Turn Swiss chard into a dish fit for a king or queen by tossing freshly washed leaves, cut into pieces, in a non-stick wok with 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 3 tiny hot red peppers, and 3 cloves of garlic cut in half. When nearly done, add boiled potatoes, which have been cut into medium-sized pieces. Toss over high heat until potatoes and chard begin to brown. Serve hot.

Green beans taste best when cooked just al dente, drained, cooled, and tossed with several garlic cloves cut in fourths, salt, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. Dress 15 minutes before serving so that the flavors harmonize.

Melanzane al Funghetto
Quick, delicious, and a masterpiece of vegetarian cuisine, this Italian dish (“Eggplant the Mushroom Way”) tastes good served hot or at room temperature.

 
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