SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Garlic is an important ingredient in my cooking. Certainly soups, stews and braises really need that extra kick and I use it freely and commonly.
Sometimes I wonder if the word ‘garlic’ were to disappear and it was simply known by its Latin name, which basically means cultivated allium. That’s the family that includes onion, shallots, leeks and chives.
Back in the days of the old Potluck Restaurant in Berkeley (where I used to manage) we could never use anything other than powdered garlic because a lot of the lunch customers would go home and their wives would complain that they could still smell the garlic on their breath. Thank goodness, it’s found much wider acceptance.
I like to sauté it for just a few seconds in a little bit of oil before the cooking gets underway. You’ve got to be really careful to not let it get too brown. It can quickly go from a wonderful, nutty, toasted flavor to a cross between charcoal and sawdust.
So just do a few seconds in the oil and then add whatever liquid or ingredients you want so that it can start cooking.
As for a garlic press, I don’t even have one. I felt they were too much trouble to clean. It’s a rare occasion that I want to use raw garlic—maybe occasionally in a salad dressing and then in those instances I just puree those in the blender. Otherwise, just chop it coarsely and throw it in the pan. It’s sure to add some wonderful flavor.
Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53am, 12:53pm and 4:53pm, and at 2:53am Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.