Garlic water

Ottolenghi has a new cookbook out and whilst it will no doubt be in the house by the time we get past Christmas but I am conscious we are still cooking our way though the first two. The most popular recipe has been the Caramelized Garlic tart.

I cooked it this evening having got home early after getting up at 5.00am to drive to High Wycombe and back and then receiving a text to say the ingredients were in the oven if I wanted to start making it.

It is one of those recipes that blur the lines between cooking and making, a large part of it lies in the assembly of the ingredients into the pastry base and putting it into the oven for thirty minutes. There is not a great deal of cooking involved.

It was made easier by the ready rolled pastry, although that wasn’t quite big enough for the tart tin and needed to be rolled out a couple of inches to fit in.

Most of the cooking was done in caramelizing the garlic. The recipe suggested that the peeled cloves from two bulbs of garlic be blanched for three minutes to dilute some of their harshness. I did this, drained them and set the water aside. Once it had cooled I drank it, a garlic infused restorative after four hundred miles in the car.

The cloves of garlic were then fried for a few minutes in olive oil and then covered with more water and a good splash of balsamic vinegar. That boiled down for ten minutes and I then added some sugar, chopped rosemary and thyme and continued to boil it down until the garlic was soft and the sweet sauce bubbled fiercely and small puddle in the bottom of the pan.

It was then all assembly. The pastry base had been baked blind. I filled it with crumbled goat’s cheese, the garlic and its dark sauce and that was all covered with a custard of lightly whisked eggs and cream. That all went into a medium oven for half an hour to cook through.

We ate it with roasted new potatoes listening to The Velvet Underground.

I am now thinking of spending time at the weekend making some garlic soup. In the meantime my colleagues at work will have to put up with the vampire scaring vapours I will no doubt be giving off tomorrow.

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