Monday, March 15, 2010

Roasted Garlic Tapenade

Instead of the classic chicken shmaltz schmear on bread that our grandparents so enjoyed, my husband was recently advised to eat garlic with olive oil every day. Instead of making him eat a full raw clove with a teaspoonful of oily gunk, I thought I'd try to create something pleasant tasting, by giving the cloves a slow saute to give them some color, a little steam, some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. This makes for a really nice appetizer spread for any meal, along with hummus or other small salads.

Alexander has taken to it enthusiastically, and I couldn't be more thrilled. Just, please, don't tell him that garlic is a vegetable! He doesn't know. He just thinks it's yet another delicious meaty treat to come out of my kitchen.

And while it tastes classy, it still has the look of schmaltz, so it feels heimish to eat, especially if you spread it on a bagel. What could be more Jewish than garlic and bagels?

One important caveat of this dish, however: Everyone in the whole house should eat this appetizer. Because if there's one person who doesn't, they're going to be bothered by everyone's garlic breath!

4 heads of garlic, peeled
high quality extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

Heat enough oil in a saute pan to coat the bottom, under medium-low heat, and add the garlic cloves. Stir constantly for approximately five-seven minutes, to ensure that none of the cloves burn. You will see the cloves begin to get translucent in places, and to brown lightly in others. When all the cloves have started coloring (a deeper yellow to a light golden brown), sprinkle the cloves generously with salt and pepper and lower the heat to the lowest setting, and cover for five minutes.

Take off the heat, cool for a few minutes, and then puree in a food processor or blender. You can also mash them with a fork, or pulse them to a chunky consistency if you prefer that. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. This is also a great item to add to sauteed veggies as a delicious garlicky flavoring. For example, I added a tablespoon of this to sauteed spinach that I made as a component of lasagna.

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