A relative of onion, garlic has an assertive flavor that is an essential ingredient in many of the world's great cuisines, including those of France, China, Mexico, Italy, and South-east Asia. Keep in mind that heating garlic mellows its flavor, while chopping it intensifies the taste. Whole bulbs of roasted garlic have the mildest flavor, and raw, minced garlic has the most intense garlic taste. Also, oversize bulbs of elephant garlic have a very timid flavor that is likely to disappoint true garlic fans.
When choosing garlic, look for firm bulbs that are heavy for their size and show no signs of mold or sprouting. Keep garlic in a cool, dark place with plenty of ventilation. Avoid refrigerating garlic, which promotes rot. When loosening cloves from the garlic bulb, set the bulb upside down on your work surface and press down hard on the root with the palm of your hand.
The cloves will break free. You can also microwave 1 heat of garlic for 1 minute on high power, turning halfway through cooking. Let stand until cool enough to handle. The skins will slip right off. Use immediately, or simmer leftover garlic in oil to cover for 5 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
** Asian Recipes