The garlic harvest for 2015 is complete, thanks to the help of our intern Sarah, her family, my family, Dan’s family, and one of our neighbors. I’m so excited about this I’m even going to use a cliché: Many hands really do make light work!
This year we harvested the largest bulbs of garlic ever, thanks in part to Dan’s constant tweaking with cover crops, his use of strip tillage, and—crazily enough—all the rain.
Right now the garlic is curing, a 2-3 week drying process which concentrates the garlic’s flavor and makes it possible to store until next year’s garlic is ready. (We actually just composted our 2014 garlic—and some of it was still usable.) Our garlic will go on sale August 10, so the recipe I’m sharing today is kind of a teaser, but I can guarantee it will be worth the wait to use Perkins’ Good Earth Farm hardneck, gourmet garlic in this recipe!
A couple years ago I found a used cookbook from the Gilroy Garlic Festival (which Dan dreams about attending some day so he can eat garlic ice cream), and this winter Dan discovered a recipe in there for Linguine with Caramelized Garlic by Kimra Foster, his inspiration for this recipe.
You’re going to need three heads of garlic, which amounts to about 18-24 cloves. Yes, this is a serious garlic-lover’s recipe! But don’t be afraid—the caramelizing will bring out the sweetness in the garlic.
Begin by separating the heads into individual cloves and peeling them. For easier peeling, Foster recommends placing the cloves in boiling water for about 30 seconds, cooling, and then peeling. (We’ve never tried this; to loosen the peel, I gently crush each clove with my chef’s knife.)
Next, heat a couple tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Once the oil is sizzling, throw in that garlic! Just like with caramelizing onions, you’re going to want to reduce the heat to low and very slow sauté the garlic until it begins to brown, stirring often. This could take anywhere from 25-30 minutes, so I recommend having a glass of wine, LaCroix on ice, or some funky dance music to keep you company.
When there’s about 5 minutes left on the garlic, cook your spaghetti (we use Aldi’s gluten-free brown rice spaghetti), chop a tablespoon of fresh thyme, and chop some fresh, preferably heirloom tomatoes.
Once the garlic is caramelized, stir in the thyme and cook for a couple more minutes. Then add about 1/3 cup chicken stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer this altogether for about 5 minutes. (Note: While this won’t look like enough sauce for the pasta, it really is!)
When the spaghetti is finished, toss the pasta with 2 beaten eggs, then add it to your pot. Combine the pasta with the garlic mixture, then add Parmesan cheese and tomatoes and do a final toss. Give it a taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Note: When Dan made this recipe in the winter with fully cured garlic, the garlic browned much more easily. He made the recipe picture in this post with fresh, uncured garlic and had a harder time achieving full caramelization, we think due to the higher moisture content. Search Google Images for “caramelized garlic” for examples.
Photography: Julie Oudman Perkins and Sarah Lindvall