Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Pickled Garlic, a little taste of France

If I had to list my five favourite ingredients, garlic would be there, probably in the top three and one of the real treats of our little trip to France last month was a pot of pickled garlic cloves that I picked up at the market.  Home and unable to find anything comparable, I decided to make my own.  The recipe is based on this, with a couple of changes as I wanted to try a sweeter pickle juice.

Ingredients: enough for a jam jar's worth
1 cup white wine vinegar and Asda's Apple Dressing (a lovely blend of white vinegar, white grape and apple juices) - approx. half a cup each
1 cup dry white wine (I chose a "crisp and fruity" Italian Trebbiano Rubicone)
A pinch each of red chilli flakes and herbes de provence
1 pinches each of dried rosemary and sea salt
2 dried bay leaves
10 whole peppercorns
3 tsps of granulated sugar
4-5 bulbs of garlic

The jam jar was washed and steralised in the oven (100C for 15-20 minutes and left to cool) whilst I peeled my cloves... which reminds me, I learnt a lovely phrase in France; "en chemise" which means "unpeeled" but which I couldn't help but think of quite literally, and couldn't help but laugh, as I imagined lots of little prawns (which were on the menu at the time) or in this case, garlic bulbs, in their undergarments!  It is the kind of job that gets equally tedious and addictive but well worth the effort.  Into a heavy based pan I put all the other ingredients, brought it to the boil for 5 minutes and then put the garlic in for another 30-40 seconds.  The garlic and pickling juice were instantly transferred to the jar and left to cool before being put in the fridge.  I tried a piece before I put it in the fridge, soft on the outside and crunchy in the middle; I prefer my garlic soft all the way through so will have to see if that comes with time and absorption... I have a week or so to wait.  I have since seen other recipes that cook the garlic for longer, the perfect excuse to try again if these are not quite as I would like!  

Yes, I misread the recipe and picked the garlic out again!

In the meantime, the leftover pickling juice makes a lovely light and fragrant salad dressing, an unexpected secondary treat.

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