New Season Garlic

Early summer gives us a chance to experience one of the kitchen’s stalwarts in its fresh form. Fresh or wet garlic can be found readily and allows dishes to made with lots of garlic taste, which at the same time don’t overpower everything else. There are many things you can do, but here are a couple that I tried this year. The first is a fantastic quiche and the second is a great marinade for a steak.

Fresh Garlic Saffron Tomato Quiche

Fresh Garlic, Saffron and Tomato Quiche

I found the recipe for this quiche in Simon Hopkinson’s fantastic The Vegetarian Option and have been eagerly waiting for chance to try it. It’s a slightly involved recipe, which can be carried out in two stages, but the results are great and I’d recommend that you try it. Don’t be tempted to make this dish with normal garlic as the taste will just be too strong.

Summary

Makes: 4 good portions
Preparation: 20mins + 5mins
Cooking: 30mins + 25mins + 40mins

Ingredients

.
.
100g
65g
1 pinch
1-2 tbsp
.
.
.
100g
200g
1 r.tsp
100ml
1 tsp
2
1
100ml
100ml
100g
30g
Pastry
.
Plain white flour (sieved)
Cold unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
Salt
Ice cold water
.
Filling
.
Fresh garlic cloves (peeled and trimmed)
Ripe tomatoes (peeled, seeded and chopped roughly)
Tomato puree
Milk
Saffron strands
Large eggs
Yolk of large egg
Fresh cream (double cream if you like)
Crème fraîche or sour cream
Light cream cheese
Freshly grated parmesan
Salt
Pepper

Method

First, make the pastry. This can be done ahead of time, in fact it needs to be done at least an hour ahead. Put the sieved flour, butter and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Tip into a large cold bowl and add just enough of the chilled water to bring the pastry together. Put into a plastic bag and transfer to the fridge for at least an hour. If you’re a dab hand at pastrymaking, you can do all this by hand, but it’s hard to keep the butter from getting too warm.

Next, we need to blanch the garlic to take the edge off the flavour. Place the cloves in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, drain. Repeat this twice. Then cover with cold water, add a little salt and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Drain and set aside.

In the meantime, heat the milk to just below boiling and switch off the heat. Add the saffron and leave to infuse.

Put the tomatoes and puree, lightly seasoned and with a tiny splash of olive oil, into a small frying pan over a very gentle heat. Let the moisture evaporate, stirring occasionally. You should be left with an almost jam-like texture after twenty minutes or so. Set aside.

After the pastry has cooled, roll it on a lightly floured surface until about 30cm in diameter. Gently line a 20cm quiche dish about 3cm deep. I found it easiest to use a non-stick tin with a pop-up bottom. Prick the base with a fork and trim any excess pastry. Line the pastry with tin foil and cover with baking beans (or chickpeas etc). Place into a 180°C preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and bake for a further 10 minutes. You could of course buy a prepared quiche base, but where’s the fun in that!

All of this can be done in advance.

When it’s time to cook, set the oven to 180°C. Put the eggs, egg yolk and garlic into a food processor and whizz until smooth. Add the cream, crème fraîche or sour cream, cream cheese and parmesan and mix again. Season lightly and stir in the saffron-infused milk.

Next, spread the tomato ‘jam’ over the pastry base. Pour the filling into the case and transfer to the oven. This can be a little unnerving, so it’s best to carry out this step as close to the oven as possible. Bake for a little over 30 minutes until set and the top is golden.

Leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, to let the flavour develop. Remove gently from the tin and transfer to a serving plate. Enjoy with a nice green salad.

Fresh Garlic and Rosemary Marinade

The previous recipe left me with about 10 juicy cloves of garlic. I decided to make a nice marinade for a couple of lovely rib-eye steaks I’d bought. First of all, I peeled and trimmed the garlic. I then gave them a very light coating of olive oil and put them in a small ovenproof dish and roasted the cloves in a low (150°C) oven for about half an hour until they were soft. These were then transferred to a mini food processor. I added enough olive oil to almost cover, along with the juice of half a lemon, the leaves from a 30cm length of rosemary branch and some freshly ground pepper. This was all whizzed together and then applied to the steaks. After marinading for an hour or so, the grilled steaks were just delish!

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