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