Monday, June 16, 2008

In Season: Garlic!

When I was growing up, spicy food had nothing to do with Scoville units and no one asked if you'd like mild, medium or blow-your-head-off in a Thai restaurant. The spiciest cuisine available at the time was Italian (yes, Italian) because it used all sorts of strange herbs and, heaven forfend, garlic.

Garlic was considered a huge no-no in polite company, and one was advised to partake in a Listerine cleansing should one have the merest contact with the stinking rose. So it was a revelation when I had my first basil pesto at Papa Haydn's on SE Milwaukie that had so much garlic in it that I could taste it for two solid days. And I loved it.

Now I can barely imagine cooking without it, and I love the smell of it on my hands after I've chopped fresh cloves. And when I saw the young heads of garlic at Groundwork Organics at the market, I had to have some. I can hardly wait to make a triple garlic sauce in brown butter with fried sage featuring the fresh heads peeled and sliced, curly garlic shoots and roasted cloves of mature garlic. With perhaps just a few red pepper flakes thrown in for some spice.

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