Author: Scott Nystrom • Date: July 27, 2016 • Appears in:
Garlic is incredible. It is said to have both pleased the gods and come from the depths of hell, sprouting at the hoofprints of the devil himself. Both revered for its medicinal properties and scorned for its ‘overstimulation’ of the body and mind (and nose), garlic is a jack-of-all trades, erupting with edible wellness. Personally, the righteous reek of this beautiful bulb is music to my ears (or is it nose). I celebrate the harvest season each year with a trip to one of our province’s garlic festivals (in Grinrod – August 21st, and in New Denver – September 11th). The fairgrounds are ripe with stink breath, but at least everyone is equally as immersed in the fantastic funk as the next person.
Harvesting your garlic
So you went out around Thanksgiving and tucked some garlic cloves into your garden plot with the tip of your toe and a lullaby, all prepared to cozy up for the winter and germinate into magical future feasts. Well it’s time to reap what you sow when summer gets going, usually mid July, but your plants will tell you exactly when. When the green luscious stalks start to dry out, and the bottom two leaves turn brown, you know its time to get picking. Try to harvest after a dry spell, so the roots aren’t too moist while the bulbs cure. Hang your harvest (dirty and undusted) with the greens still attached, bundled or braided. Let your garlic breathe well while it adjusts to life above ground, and allow its outer skin to crisp up. Keep it dark, cool, and dry and it will keep long into the spring. Trim off the roots and stem only once your garlic is fully dry and ready to go into long-term storage. Then you can crush it, roast it, grate it, or cover it in organic butter and glorious local wine and smear it on your next feast of fish or fowl.
Garlic Beurre Blanc (in a jar!)
This simple, succulent, and versatile sauce features the holy trinity of any chef’s pantry – garlic, butter, and wine. It will infuse love and goodness into anything you slather it on, making it taste glorious. Make it last minute in the same pan you just cooked your main course in, while dinner is resting. Use while warm or leave in the warm pan until ready to devour. It will harden and potentially separate once cooled. Slowly warm and vigorously whisk to revive.
1 Tablespoon: Butter - organic preferably, grass-fed ideally
2 cloves: Garlic - minced for milder, grated for greater garlic flavor
1/2 Cup: White wine - dry, local – like Summerhill’s Alive Organic White
4 Tablespoons: Butter - cut into uneven knuckle-sized chunks
Sea salt and pepper
- In a medium pan, over medium heat, sauté garlic in butter until fragrant, but not browned, about 2 minutes.
- Deglaze garlic with white wine. Let wine reduce by about 1/2.
- Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
- Season with a decent pinch of salt and a few cracks of black pepper (or white pepper if you have it – if keeping it “blanc” is essential for your refined final dish).
- After sautéing garlic, carefully spatulate the contents of the pan (reduced wine and garlic) into a small mason jar.
- Add 1/2 the knuckles of butter to the jar. Screw on lid and shake vigorously until the butter melts and is emulsified into the wine.
- While mixture is still warm, add the remaining knobs of butter and continue to shake the jar until the mix is fixed.
- Keep covered at room temp until serving. Shake before you drizzle it over Pan-seared Halibut from Fisherman’s Market, or Roasted Chicken from Sterling Springs Farm. Or mop it up with some real good bread, homemade or procured from the hands at Okanagan Grocery.
Create, devour, celebrate real food.