I first heard about the Elephant garlic on Twitter a couple of weeks ago and, after having understood there actually was something called that and not just a made up name for a slightly bigger specimen of an regular garlic, I was convinced that I just had to get my hands on one and try it out.
It took a while, but thanks to the friends at Sorunda Grönsakshall, it was rather easy to come by. It just laid there, waiting for me when I got there.
When I came home again and had recovered from the initial chock, I opened the net around the gigant cloves. The garlic was dried, like most regular garlics sold in sweden, and the paper thin peel had problems keeping the garlic together. The cloves were just too heavy! That explains the net.
The cloves fell apart and I had to compare them to a regular garlic. Well, just look aat the photos and you’ll see. It’s HUGE! But the flavor is supposed to be milder, more like the Solo garlic.
I’ve never used any other unit than the number of cloves when it comes to measuring the amount of garlic to use in a dish, but that’s obviously nothing more than a joke when it comes to this kind of garlic. “Yes, but just use one clove…” Right…
So to learn how to use this thing there’s just one thing to do - Try it out!
I smeared olive oil all over one of the cloves and put in a small tray together with a few rosemary leafs. I then baked it in the oven on 180°C/355°F for about 40 min until the peel was brownish and the flesh inside was soft. at this time a powerful, but pleasant garlic-y smell had spread throughout the entire house.I squeezed the clove and the inside came out, nice and sweet. I stirred it in a small bowl together with a few drops of the olive oil from the tray and then I tried the sweet, mild mash on a toasted piece of bread. An excellent companion to a glass of nice red wine!
You don’t need much. Both the flavor and the smell is heavy, but not sharp, and one clove is enough for several people this way.
I’m not much wiser when it comes to what amount of Elephant garlic should be used to obtain the same strength and flavor as with the regular garlic, but one thing is for sure - there will be more tests.
The Elephant garlic is a fun variation to the regular one, partly because it’s spectacular size and partly because it’s something new to learn. If it has more to offer than the regular one once you get used to it, I don’t know. But I sure hope so.
I guess you’ll be hearing more about it here in the near future.