In season: garlic

Along with onions, garlic is at the base of a great deal of our recipes. It is an indispensable ingredient in every kitchen all over the world, for good reason. Garlic provides a great depth of flavour to every dish and when used properly, is not overwhelming, particularly when cooked.
garlic heap

Many people find garlic difficult to prepare as the thin skin can be hard to remove so here are some tricks to make it really easy.

garlic bulb

To separate the cloves from the head/bulb, use your fingers to break into the top of the bulb and then remove as many individual cloves as you need by pulling them out.

The easiest way to peel the cloves is to place your palm on top of the clove and press down hard. This will crush the clove slightly and the skin will slip straight off. Then slice, chop or crush the garlic.

When caramelizing or browning onions, never add the garlic until the onions are done. Garlic cooks much much faster than onions so if you add them at the same time, you’ll end up with raw onions and burnt garlic!
garlic cloves

This roast tomato soup combines two of our favourite seasonal ingredients – tomatoes and garlic – roasted together to give a really intense flavour.

Roast tomato soup

5 lbs/2 kg large sun ripened tomatoes
1 potato cooked until tender (if desired)
1 head (bulb) of garlic, cloves separated, skin on
1 large bunch of fresh basil
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
vegetable or chicken stock if required
½ cup olive oil

METHOD

1. Place tomatoes and garlic in a large roasting tin.
2. Sprinkle olive oil over the tomatoes and garlic and season with salt and pepper.
3. Bake for about an hour in oven at 190ºC/400ºF or until the tomatoes are well cooked and browned.
4. Remove from the oven and slip the garlic out of their skins.
5. Place in a blender and blend until as smoothas possible.
6. If a thicker soup is required, add the boiled potato to the tomato mixture and continue to blend together well.
7. If a smooth soup is required, pass through a strainer, otherwise leave chunky.
8. If the soup is too thick, thin slightly by adding vegetable or chicken stock.
9. Stir in a handful of torn up basil leaves.
10. Season again with salt and pepper.

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