Of all the ingredients I always have on hand in my kitchen garlic is near the top of the list. Garlic has a reputation for being too strong a flavor and the culprit of bad breath. I am writing with the authority of someone who has cooked for more than fifty years and thirty of the years in the professional kitchen. The truth is when garlic is cooked correctly it can be mild and sweet or assertive and pungent.
The more you chop garlic the stronger the flavor and scent become. To show off garlic’s robust side use minced, pureed, or mashed raw garlic. Don’t even think about using a garlic press. It gives garlic an inordinate level of sharpness. Practice chopping garlic correctly and throw away your garlic press. It is the villain that creates a bitter taste to your garlic. Also the longer you expose garlic to the air the stronger it becomes. So chop your garlic and use it immediately, or cover it with a little olive oil . Quickly sautéeing or infusing garlic will add lots of piquant garlic notes without the sharpness.
Mash coarse salt and raw garlic into a paste and use it to flavor butter. Use it melted as a sauce for grilled meats and fish. Spread it on sourdough bread and top with roast beef for a tasty sandwich. You’ll find dozens of uses for this vividly flavored spread.
GARLIC ROSEMARY BUTTER. (AROUND 1/2 CUP)
2 large cloves garlic (around 1/2 ounce)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter at room temperature
Freshly ground black pepper
Peel the garlic cloves and halve them lengthwise, remove the germs, and coarsely chop the cloves.
Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Using the flat side of a chef’s knife, smear and mash the garlic and salt together to form a smooth paste. You should have about 2 teaspoons garlic paste.
Put the garlic paste into a small bowl and add the lemon juice and rosemary. Stir to combine.
Add the butter and mash together with a fork until completely incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Use immediately or use parchment, waxed paper, or plastic wrap to shape the garlic butter into a log, twisting the ends as if it were a sausage.
Refrigerate until ready to use. The butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to one month.