A Provencal recipe that I have taught for years in my classes is chicken braised with 40 cloves of garlic. While this may sound like an incredible amount, the long slow cooking reduces the cloves to a butter-soft smoothness and a delicate flavor that has to be tasted to be believed. Along with the chicken you eat the garlic spread on bread like butter, and one day it occurred to me that it would be a smart idea to make a pureé of garlic and keep it on hand as a flavoring for stews and sautés, to mix into vegetables or a salad dressing, or to serve on toast as an hors d’oeuvre. On another occasion, I made a sublime sauce for roast lamb by combining equal quantities of the garlic pureé and créme fraîche, combined with some of the degreased lamb pan juices and a little seasoning.
Makes1 to 1½ pints
Total Timeunder 1 hour
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecreamy, garlicky, savory, sharp, sweet
Type of DishCondiments, dip/spread, sauces
- 2 dozen heads of garlic
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Separate the heads into cloves, leave the cloves in their papery husks, and simmer in a pan of water seasoned with 1 teaspoon salt for 30 to 40 minutes, or until very, very soft. Drain, then put through a food mill to extract the soft pulp from the skins. Season the pureé with a touch of salt and mix in the oil. Put in a jar and refrigerate until needed. It will last several weeks, or longer if you cover the top with a thin film of olive oil.
1981 James Beard