The Joy of Garlic
It’s a painful thought: What would cooking be without garlic? Like the oceans without water. The sky without the sun and moon. Garlic is absolutely essential to good eating. In its raw state, it is almost sharp and pungent. Mixed and muddled with salt, it loses its edge. Lightly sautéed, it starts to sweeten, and roasted until soft, garlic is almost sweet. Garlic is common to all of the world’s great cuisines — throughout all of Asia, into Eastern Europe and the Middle East, around the Mediterranean’s northern and southern shores and down into Africa. Garlic is also central to cooking in the New World, especially throughout Latin America and, of course, the United States. Always use fresh garlic, never garlic powder, unless it’s to be sprinkled on a slice of mediocre pizza. Garlic is best chopped shortly before using, but cloves can be bought pre-peeled and stored whole in your refrigerator for up to a week.