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Old 01-28-2007, 04:38 AM   #1
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Cooking with Garlic question

I love using garlic and find that different people use garlic in different ways. When I am pan frying something, I usually add the garlic in at the same time as whatever I am pan frying. Someone recently told me to put the garlic in and let it fry a little in the olive oil first before putting in the main things. Does this really make a difference?

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Old 01-28-2007, 05:27 AM   #2
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I think it does. I particularly do this for stir frying and it infuses the oil with the garlic oils for more flavor.
There is also a difference in garlic flavor if you slice it (milder, fewer oils) or if you crush it in a press (more oils, stronger flavor).
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Old 01-28-2007, 10:26 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgan10
I love using garlic and find that different people use garlic in different ways. When I am pan frying something, I usually add the garlic in at the same time as whatever I am pan frying. Someone recently told me to put the garlic in and let it fry a little in the olive oil first before putting in the main things. Does this really make a difference?
Well, here's my rationale: I put the garlic in the pan first and let it cook a little before adding the rest of the stuff, so that I can be sure that all the garlic is cooked evenly, mellowing it out.

If you add the other stuff in along with the garlic, as you stir, you chance having some of the garlic undercooked, resulting in some mouthfuls of too-strong flavor.

If you don't mind that, than, no, it doesn't make a heck of a lot of difference.

Lee
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Old 01-28-2007, 10:31 AM   #4
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If you add the garlic to the oil the garlic will infuse the oil. Now you have garlic oil you are cooking with instead of unflavored oil. It makes a difference, but does not mean that one way is right over the other. You could combine your friends technique and your technique and get garlic flavor in two different ways. Not to mention what Candocook said about the way you slice, cut, crush, the garlic. The finer you cut it the stronger it will be. Also cooking time will affect the flavor. Raw garlic is the most potent. The longer it cooks the more mild it gets.
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Old 01-28-2007, 10:41 AM   #5
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I rarely add the garlic first anymore - even with stirfrying - primarily because I've just overcooked/burned it too many times & then have to start over. Blech!

But I'm a big-time hard-core garlic fan, so it's not a big problem.
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Old 01-31-2007, 10:57 PM   #6
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Well, lots of answers. All of them right in one way or another. It depends on what you want to achieve. Garlic is a fantastic ingredient. It adds richness and intrigue to so many recipes.

Should you saute it first, well I like to. Too many times the garlic in a recipe comes out too raw and bitter. Of course if you overcook it you will also create bitterness. I guess the answer for me is to pre-saute it just until it becomes transparent, pretty much the same way as you treat onions.

Most times when a recipe calls for chopped garlic I will put it through a press first. That is much more likely to cook properly and mix better with other ingredients.

Then again my favorite way to use it is to roast it first. Cut off the pointed end of a bulb of garlic, wrap it in foil and bake at about 425 for an hour. A toaster oven does a great job on this. Then squeeze the roasted pulp into the recipe. Whoah... I'm getting hungry.
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:22 AM   #7
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Just for a moment I would like to go back to the original posters question...

The answer to the question of which is better... sautee the garlic in oil first, or when you add the other things... the answer for me is "yes"!

You get different results with different methods. It depends on what you are after and I do both at different times.

If time is critical (short) I sautee things all together. If I want to infuse the oil more, I do the garlic first- and slowly... at very low heat so not to burn. I have even been known to remove the garlic after the infusion to avoid the bitterness of overcooked garlic... one way to do this is to slice instead of mince the garlic... just scrape it out with a spoon then turn the heat up and sautee the veggies.

If I am making a pan of sauteed veggies that are going on top of something- like over a pasta- I will usually do the garlic along with the other things- and use a little more garlic than if the side were to stand alone.

Note: Try sauteing black oilves, green olives, marinated artichokes, red pepper flakes and capers and maybe one or two spoons of tomato sauce with (lots of) garlic in EVOO and use that as a sauce for a shrimp and pasta dish.

Garlic is a wonderful and versatile ingredient. To my taste it usually needs a "counter point", like a little lemon zest or something else "bright" to balance the heaviness of the garlic. Together they both become better than they would be standing alone.

Edited to read: I suppose I should add that if I do the garlic in the oil first- I think it comes out smoother, but a little nutty... if I do all together it comes out fresher, more clearly speaking "garlic!"

You pays your money you takes your choice....
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