We had assumed that Black Garlic was produced from a bulb of ordinary garlic which had been specially treated with various flavourings. How wrong we were.
It did indeed start life as regular white garlic but by long and careful exposure to heat and humidity a process of natural fermentation begins, thereby turning the garlic into soft, black cloves with a taste reminiscent of black treacle and balsamic vinegar. Nothing at all like the usual garlic taste or smell.
We tried a clove raw, and then tried another, followed by another. They could become addictive. So before we ate the contents of the tub we tried cooking with them. Balsajo recommend adding them to scrambled eggs. We did, but found the combination not to our taste. It has a sweetish flavour, which for us over-powered the eggs, and neither did it work particularly well in a butternut squash soup.
However, It worked particularly well in beef/beansprout/celery stir fry. We used a few chopped cloves in a marinade for the beef, and the flavour came through well. Likewise with a coq au vin, a few chopped cloves gave the dish an added depth that guests couldn’t work out. Though they all said it was our best ever coq au vin.
We found it worked well mashed up with some mayo to make a dip with carrot sticks, and with some sour cream as a topping for a baked potato. It worked well as an addition to a pizza topping, and also added richness to a tomato pasta sauce. Next time we make a Bordelaise sauce we are definitely going to add some cloves to it, maybe cutting down on the shallots.
Balsajo Black Garlic comes as whole bulbs, cloves or as a paste. In retrospect we think that from now on we will buy the paste – much easier to add to blend into sauces, etc.
Balsajo Black Garlic One bulb box is stocked at £1.50 Sainsbury’s; Balsajo Black Garlic 50g peeled pot is available at various delis and independents at around £3.99; Balsajo Black Garlic Paste is available from the Food Market £4.99; thefoodmarket.com/products/black-garlic-paste-100g
And incidentally the Balsajo website has some tasty looking recipes and tips. http://balsajo.com