Cooking with Garlic and Shallots

Cooking with Garlic and Shallots

Garlic and shallots can be purchased already chopped, but many chefs feel strongly that these ingredients should be cut and used as close as possible to cooking time. In addition to having a better flavor, they are safer. Chopped garlic and shallots that are allowed to sit at room temperature can become infected with potentially harmful pathogens.

Peeling and Mashing Garlic and Shallots -

Mashed or minced shallots and garlic are required in many preparations - for example, as a component in the aromatic bed for shallow-poached items, or in the reduction used to flavor emulsion sauces. It is important to have enough prepared to last through a cooking session. To prevent bacterial growth, store uncooked, minced shallots or garlic covered in oil under refrigeration. The method is as follows -

  • To loosen the skin, crush the garlic clove or shallot bulb between the knife blade's flat side and the cutting board, using the heel of the hand. Peel off the skin and remove the root end and any brown spots.

  • Mince the clove or bulb fairly fine, or coarsely chop, as for herbs. If desired, sprinkle the garlic or shallot with salt before mincing. This makes mashing easier by providing abrasion and absorbing excess juice and oil.

  • Hold the knife at an angle and use the cutting edge to mash the garlic or shallot against the cutting board. Repeat this step until the item is mashed to a paste. Large quantities may be minced in a food processor.

  • To store, place in a jar, cover with a layer of oil and refrigerate.

Roasting Garlic and Shallots -

The flavor of garlic and shallots becomes rich, sweet and smoky after roasting. This technique is quite popular, and roasted garlic can be found as a component of marinades, glazes and vinaigrettes, as well as a spread for grilled breads. The method is as follows -

  • Place the unpeeled head of garlic or shallot bulbs in a small pan or sizzler platter. Some chefs like to place them on a bed of salt. The salt holds the heat, roasting the garlic quickly and producing a dryer texture in the finished product.

  • Roast at a moderate temperature until the garlic or shallots are quite soft. Any juice that run from the garlic or shallots should be browned. The aroma should be sweet and pleasing, with no hints of harshness or sulfur.

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