Gentler flavour: Elephant garlic
Elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum) is not “genuine” garlic but is intimately connected to a leek. It was a long time before I learned it wasn’t the authentic stuff though.
It shows like handsome giant garlic, smells like deliciously soft garlic, tastes like sweet and luscious garlic, and grows roughly as large as a small ball.
The finest way to eat elephant garlic is to pluck it when it’s still a single bulb and hasn’t built up the papery cover on the cloves and bake it gradually with scant olive oil till soft and greasy and mildly but abundantly garlic flavored.
No, the best way is to pick the young stems and bake them in a little olive oil till they are soft and taste like leeks that have had a torrid relationship with garlic.
And the very best way to eat elephant garlic is to peel the giant mature cloves and bake them slowly with small potatoes in their jackets till both are crisped and browned and taste of both garlic and potato … and be prepared to guzzle far too many.
How To Grow Elephant Garlic
Elephant garlic can be cultivated like normal garlic – sown in spring or autumn in cold climates, or autumn to spring in frost-free areas.
Plant about 5 cm deep and 30 cm apart. I like to fill the ground between them with pansies or another winter blooming annual ground cover.
And they will grow. If your true garlic vanishes, because of eelworm, slugs or snails, elephant garlic may endure the depredations of all of them.
It will keep growing, too, and sometimes produce a flower and seeds, either in the first or second year, if you don’t harvest it when the stems yellow, which is when the bulb will be best for storage, or earlier.
Like true garlic, elephant garlic grows biggest in rich, well-drained soil – the two things it doesn’t cope with are boggy ground or undecomposed organic matter, both of which can lead to rot. Rotting garlic – be it true or ‘elephant‘ stinks like, well, rotten garlic.
Spinach Turkey Roll With Elephant Garlic
Spinach Turkey Roll
- 1 cup meatless spaghetti sauce, divided
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of dried basil.
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.
- 1 teaspoon of ground mustard
- 1 pound of lean minced turkey.
- 1 pack (10 oz) iced minced spinach, defrosted and compressed dry
- 1/2 mug shaved part-skim mozzarella cheese
- In a dish, combine 1/4 cup of spaghetti gravy, eggs, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, and mustard.
- Crush turkey over the blend and mix thoroughly.
- Use a piece of waxed paper, pat turkey blend into a 12-by-8-inch square.
- Sprinkle with spinach and cheese.
- Roll up jelly roll style, starting with a short side and peeling waxed paper away while rolling.
- Seal seams and ends.
- Place it seam side down in a 15-by-10-by- 1-inch baking pan coated with non-stick cooking spray.
- Simmer, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.
- Let it cool for 5 min. before slicing. Heat remaining spaghetti sauce; serve over turkey.
- Yield: 6 servings
Nutrition per serving: 230 calories, 11 grams fat (4 grams saturated, 43 percent fat calories), 20 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrate, 137 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams dietary fiber.
Grilled Elephant Garlic
- 1 behemoth (5-inch) or 2 huge (3-inch) bulbs of elephant garlic.
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to personal liking.
- Dispose of any loose exterior skin on the bulbs, having enough skin to keep the cloves close together in a head.
- With a sharp serrated blade, chop off the top fourth of the bulb (the sharp end) and discard it.
- In a custard cup or alternative small bowl, blend the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Sprinkle the oil over the cut surfaces of the bulbs, allowing it to soak into the interior.
- Coat the exterior surface of the bulbs slightly.
- Warm one side of a gas or charcoal grill.
- When warm, place garlic bulbs cut-side-down on the grill opposite the hot coals.
- Cover and roast for about 40 minutes, turning periodically, until the garlic is very soft.
- Squeeze garlic from the skin or peel off the skin. Spread the warm garlic on thin slices of French bread.
- Servings: 4 to 6.
Elephant Garlic Roast Pepper Soup
- 4 medium red bell peppers
- 2 large cloves of elephant garlic (skin left on).
- 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 & 1/2 tsp. honey
- 1 & 1/2 tsp. fresh chopped basil
- 4 tsp. mascarpone cheese, for garnish
1. Roast the whole red peppers on a baking sheet under a very hot broiler, turning them frequently until the skin on all sides has bubbled and charred.
Remove from the oven, and let them stand until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the skin off the peppers, extract the seeds and discard them, and set the peeled peppers aside.
2. Place the elephant garlic (leave the skin on) in a small baking dish, and roast in a 350-degree F oven for 20 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard it. Put the chili peppers and garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor, and process until you get a very smooth mixture.
3. Place the puree in a saucepan, along with chicken stock, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, honey, and basil.
Bring it to a boiling point over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook it for 15 minutes.
Serve immediately while still hot, with a glob of mascarpone cheese placed in the middle of each bowl.