May 06, 2009

We recently got a package of these mysterious cloves in the mail at the office. I have to admit, the product description had me a little bit scared: Garlic fermented for 30 days until it turns the color of rotten, burnt things? And the hilariously mistranslated English on the package (it's made in Korea) counseled wariness as well: "It's a natural food! Eat it as many as you want!"

But it turns out black garlic, which has been getting lots of coverage in the restaurant and consumer press and in the blogosphere, is quite delicious. Its flavor and texture are like a mix of roasted garlic and a raisin--mild but still garlicky, with lots of sweet and caramel overtones and a chewy texture. It's kind of like what happens to onion when you caramelize it deeply; it's still onion, but it's soft, chewy, and as sweet as candy.

The stuff's also really good for you. According to the official Web site, black garlic has almost twice the antioxidants of raw garlic and contains high amounts of a cancer-fighting compound called S-Allycysteine. They also claim it won't give you garlic breath.

Blackgarlic.com (which also gives sources to buy the stuff) offers several recipes for black garlic, but I think you could use it anywhere you'd use roasted garlic--it's even milder and sweeter, with the same spreadable texture. When I tasted a clove, the first pairing I thought of was burgers--they'd make a great topping either by themselves or maybe mashed into black-garlic mayonnaise. Anybody else out there try this stuff? Got any black garlic recipe suggestions?

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