Splendid Table: Fresh garlic finds a spot at table

  • Article by: LYNNE ROSETTO KASPER , Scripps Howard News Service
  • Updated: July 21, 2010 - 1:33 PM

New garlic is a versatile summer treat.

Q Is there something special one can do with new garlic -- the type with the skin that's not papery yet and with the long green stalks?

A Now is the only time you could use the whole bulb, skin and all. And maybe even the stalk if it's tender.

Here are a few summer garlic ideas. Adjust seasonings to your taste and to your garlic.

Purist's Pesto and Pasta. Use the whole head of garlic, skin and all. Purée a couple of heads with lots of young basil and a little Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or Asiago and good-tasting olive oil. Toss that with hot pasta, and some pasta water. With fresh lemon, the pesto becomes a dressing for anything you'd like.

New Garlic and Almond Gazpacho: Whole heads puréed with lots of salted almonds, some olive oil and good-tasting coarse bread you've soaked in sherry vinegar and water give you Spain's pre-Columbus gazpacho (meaning no tomatoes). Thin it with water as needed and top with diced under-ripe nectarines for a tart, fruity finish. Warm smoky Spanish paprika in a little of the oil and spoon that over the fruit, too.

New Garlic Picatta Table Sauce: Cut two heads of garlic into small dice and marinate in fresh lemon juice 30 minutes or longer. Toss with capers, a little lemon zest and olive oil and salt and pepper. Use as a table sauce for vegetables and fish, or top thickly sliced tomatoes and mozzarella or grilled meats. Add to pan as you finish sautéing chicken thighs.

New Garlic and First Sweet Corn: Purée a couple heads of garlic with lime juice, salt, a little olive oil and chile to taste. It should be a thick, creamy sauce. Smear on plates and top with hot corncobs. Rolling the corn around in the garlic sauce gives it a taste like nothing else you've tried.

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