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Eat this! Garlic, good for everything

Mercat garlic shrimp

Mercat garlic shrimp.

What it is: Allium sativum, or garlic, is a bulbous root related to lilies and onions, used as a seasoning throughout the world and revered for a variety of health benefits.

Chef Jose Garces. Photo by Michael Persico.

Jose Garces. Photo by Michael Persico.

Where it comes from: Garlic is believed to have originated in Central Asia, but its use goes back before recorded history. In the United States, it was deemed a peasant flavor and confined almost strictly to ethnic cookery until the 1940s.

Top producers today include China, India, South Korea, Egypt, Russia, the United States and Spain.

What to do with it: Almost every savory dish can be enhanced by garlic. It’s pungent when raw and mellows in cooked dishes. The finer you chop garlic, the sharper it will taste. Remove any green sprouts, which will be bitter. Also, don’t overcook garlic; it will develop an acrid flavor.

To remove the scent of garlic from your hands, rub them under water with a stainless steel utensil. I don’t know why this works, but it does.

At Mercat a la Planxa in the Loop, Chef Jose Garces uses plenty of garlic for a traditional Catalan recipe for shrimp. Preparations of garlic with oil should always be kept refrigerated and used quickly.

Mercat a la Planxa’s garlic shrimp

Chef Jose Garces

6 large shrimp, shell on
1/2 cup garlic oil
2 dried guindilla chilies, broken in half
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley or other fresh herbs

In a cazuela or dutch oven, heat the shrimp in the garlic oil over medium-high heat. Add the chilies. After about 1 minute, turn the shrimp over and continue to cook for 1 more minute. Add the lemon juice and top with chopped herbs. 1 serving.

Garlic oil

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup blended cooking oil
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic

Combine all ingredients. Let stand at room temperature one hour or refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before using and shake well. Use within 3 days. 1/2 cup.

 
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