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Old 03-15-2008, 10:45 AM   #1
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Garlic: when to add/how much?

I've been reading a few of the past threads, and I came across a few times when someone asked: "The original recipe doesn't use garlic. can I add some?"

In one of those threads (specifically an old one about chicken marsala), everyone said to add the garlic at the very end (with the mushrooms), and then to use it sparingly.

So I wonder: how can I learn when to use garlic and then, when to use only a little? My family (who are teaching me to cook) usually puts garlic in everything, and always a lot and always at the beginning. But, I recently tried to make a stuffed chicken breast that, while awesome, had a lot of garlic put in but not much garlic flavour come out.

Mike

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Old 03-15-2008, 11:11 AM   #2
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Garlic is an aromatic. That is, a flavor builder...and you must remember that when it is cooked it loses some of its intensity. Consider adding carlic to a Caesar salad. The amount added is immediately evident in the taste, right? But roast the same amount of garlic and add it to a Caesar salad and you will probably barely taste any garlic at all. The strength is reduced during cooking.

When to add garlic? It depends on what you are cooking. Soups, stocks and sauces should have garlic added up front. In the beginning, that is. Something like a stir fry should have it added up front as well. Pan tossed pastas the same. However, when a very high heat is being used - say, for searing small cuts of meat - add garlic after the meat has been browned or else the garlic will burn.

Now, as I mentioned in another post, heat can be controlled with liquid to avoid burning garlic. Wine, stock and cream are splashed into a hot pan after any browning is done and the garlic has been added. Then the garlic will infuse into the liquid as it is reduced.

I'll give you an easy illustration: Carbonara.

Over a high heat, brown a julienne of bacon/pancetta/proscuitto in a little butter and olive oil. When it's browned sufficiently...add minced garlic. Don't drop the heat! Just add it and and saute for a moment. Now...splash in some white wine. Yep...you just killed the heat and won't burn your garlic. Reduse for a moment and add cream. Reduce. Add your pasta and heat thoroughly. Finish with a raw egg...give it a spin and garnish with cheese and chopped herbs, Done!

That garlic will be tasted in the sauce. No burning. You see how the wine controls the heat?

Hope this helps.

Marko
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:50 PM   #3
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Can I add minced/chopped garlic when frying potatoes in a pan? Or should that be done at the end as well?
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:55 PM   #4
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add garlic to potatoes close to the end. They can take quite awhile to fry. I don't even add my onions til almost 1/2 way thru.
MM I think I should make us a big breakfast in the morning!
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:23 PM   #5
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I have to say this is a personal choice for me..... but just about every dish I cook (minus desserts) have garlic and lots of it! I have a hard time cooking without it! Experiment with it, see what appeals to you. Try roasting it by cutting the top off the garlic, drizzle with evoo and a pinch of salt and cracked pepper. Wrap tightly in foil and roast for about 45 minutes at 300. This method will yeild a milder garlic flavor if you are not a fan of the bite the raw version can have.

Give me garlic I say!
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suziquzie View Post
I don't even add my onions til almost 1/2 way thru.
I thought the flavor of onion increases (it gets sweeter) if you cook it longer. But I assume this choice depends on what kind of dish you're preparing. I'm not an experienced cook yet as you may have noticed
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sattie View Post
I have to say this is a personal choice for me..... but just about every dish I cook (minus desserts) have garlic and lots of it! I have a hard time cooking without it! Experiment with it, see what appeals to you. Try roasting it by cutting the top off the garlic, drizzle with evoo and a pinch of salt and cracked pepper. Wrap tightly in foil and roast for about 45 minutes at 300. This method will yeild a milder garlic flavor if you are not a fan of the bite the raw version can have.

Give me garlic I say!
I agree, I absolutely love garlic.
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metsada View Post
I thought the flavor of onion increases (it gets sweeter) if you cook it longer. But I assume this choice depends on what kind of dish you're preparing. I'm not an experienced cook yet as you may have noticed
They do get nice and sweet when cooked to brown.
Potatoes cook so much longer to get brown, that if you put the onions in at the same time, the onions will be burnt to a crisp by the time the taters are ready.
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