Go Ga-Ga for Garlic

How to make this aromatic herb work in your kitchen

There's a little unassuming bulb whose pungent flavor can transform the most basic bread, grains, vegetables, and meats, into memorable meals. Notorious for "perfuming" breath (and keeping vampires at bay), garlic is actually one of the world's oldest cultivated herbs; its use has been traced back to Ancient Egyptian culture. Over the past 5000 years, garlic's fame has spread around the globe, where it currently livens up recipes for appetizers, stews, and sauces worldwide.

Culinary Arts

Types of Garlic

Garlic is as ubiquitous as onions or potatoes on supermarket shelves, but if you'd like to try more than the one variety offered by most stores, you may have to do a little investigative work. Farmers' markets or garlic festivals are the perfect spots to find some of the lesser-known types of garlic--Rocambole, Porcelain, and Creole. For a delicious spring treat, chop up some garlic scapes (flower stalks of a maturing garlic plant). You can use it in place of garlic for a milder, slightly sweet flavor.

Unleash the Magic: Using Garlic

Remove garlic's thin, papery skin easily by crushing cloves between the flat side of the knife and a cutting board. Then you have your choice of methods to crush or mince garlic.

  • Metal garlic presses are speedy and can protect your hands from taking on garlic's signature odor.
  • Combine garlic cloves and a little salt in a mortar and pestle to make a smooth paste.
  • Use a chef's knife and mince cloves by hand, but choose your cutting surface with care--garlic's odor lingers on until you clean it.

Sautéing is the most common form of garlic preparation, but chefs who want to broaden their horizons with this powerful little bulb can also try one of the following techniques:

  • Poaching. Combine whole cloves of garlic with water, wine, or another cooking liquid; bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 30 minutes. Poached cloves can be used whole as a condiment or pureed in sauces.
  • Roasting. For a nuttier flavor and creamy texture, remove the extra skin from a whole head of garlic; slice the very tips off each clove, and wrap the head in foil or place it in a garlic roaster with a little olive oil. Bake at 350°F for 2 hours. Roasted garlic can be spread on bread or added to stews or sauces.
  • Rubbing. The most subtle way to sneak that garlic flavor into a dish is simply to rub a clove on the sides of a bowl or pot. Try this on your wooden bowl the next time you make a Cesar salad.

Get Garlicky! Cooking with Garlic

Open a cookbook from almost any country in the world and you find garlic listed among the primary ingredients in many recipes. Because it is such a versatile herb, you can use it in almost any dish. However, if you'd like to showcase garlic's delicious flavor, here are a few ideas:

  • Use garlic scapes in place of basil in your favorite pesto recipe.
  • Make your own aioli (garlic mayonnaise) to use as a dip or sandwich spread.
  • Jazz up roasted or mashed potatoes with garlic for a crowd-pleasing side dish.
  • Toss garlic with spaghetti and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil (with a little salt and pepper) for a simple, yet flavorful supper.
  • Add a clove of garlic to homemade salad dressing to deepen the flavor. Remember that garlic marinated in olive oil is susceptible to botulism, so be sure to refrigerate any leftover dressing.
  • For an adventurous (and memorable) finale to a meal, whip up some garlic ice cream!

Don't let fear of stinky breath dissuade you--garlic's culinary benefits far outweigh any temporary odor it may leave behind. Garnish your plates with a few sprigs of fresh parsley (known to freshen breath), and dig in!


WHFoods: Garlic

About the Author:

Featured Culinary Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Recognized on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year from 2010-2014
            • Day and evening classes are available for flexible scheduling.
            • Offers bachelor’s, associate, and diploma programs in business, culinary arts, criminal justice, cosmetology, and more.
            • Takes a unique “Focused Learning” approach, where students typically take only one class per month to concentrate on one subject with one faculty member at a time.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid