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29 October 2012

Go large with elephant garlic

Elephant garlic is considerably larger than its cousin. The normal garlic cloves in the foreground are around half the size.
Photo: © childsdesign

We can't think of many meals that we cook that don't contain garlic in some way. The versatile bulbs have a permanent place in our kitchen and usually occupy a small box inside the spice cupboard.

Recently we tried some elephant garlic from The Elephant Garlic Company. It was recently harvested and has to be freshest garlic we've eaten, each enormous clove still juicy from the last drink in the field.

Technically, elephant garlic is not a true garlic and botanists have classified it as a close relation to the leek. While the top of the plant does indeed have leek-like leaves, the bottom is very much a huge garlic bulb complete with the individual cloves.
The flavour too is also like garlic, perhaps a little sweeter and not so pungent, but unmistakably garlicky.

Because of the elephant garlic's more subtle flavours we found it was very palatable even when eaten raw. There is some hotness which quickly subsides to reveal a sweet nutty garlic flavour.
Cooked it can be used in the same way as normal garlic and is particularly good when roasted whole.

Photo: © childsdesign

We also tried it mixed with tomatoes to make a delicious topping for toast. Drizzled with some olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and a grind of fresh black pepper then grilled it was very good. You might want to call it it bruschetta but we like to call it 'Posh Things On Toast'!

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