An Acquired Taste

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There are not many plants as divisive as garlic—both in the kitchen and the history books.

During ancient times, the Egyptians fed their slaves garlic to provide and prolong their physical strength. Later on, upper classes around the world shunned garlic because of its odor. Today, garlic is deemed a necessity for wellness—rich in minerals, vitamin B1 and C—and considered an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-thrombotic substance.

Here are a few of my favorite garlic recipes. Bon appétit!

Confit Of Garlic(About 2 cups)10 to 15 heads raw garlic, cloves peeled and trimmed of dark spots

About 2 cups olive or vegetable oilTo prepare:Peel and trim garlic cloves.

Place whole cloves in a non-reactive heavy saucepan over moderate heat.

Add oil to cover the garlic by 1/2 inch.

Cover and bring to a slow boil.

Reduce heat while the garlic simmers.

Cook until the garlic is tender and sweet, but still holds its shape, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove from the heat.

Cool to room temperature.

Transfer to a clean glass jar and refrigerate.Roasted Asparagus With Garlic And Cherry Tomatoes(Serves 4)1 to 2 pounds fresh asparagus, tough stems trimmed and peeled

1 box cherry tomatoes, washed and halved

5 to 6 large garlic cloves, minced

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Few pinches dried basil or thyme

Parsley or basil for garnishTo prepare:Snap tough ends off asparagus and cut to trim.

Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.

Drizzle oil on the paper.

Arrange asparagus in one layer on the pan and roll to coat.

Scatter garlic and tomatoes over the asparagus.

Drizzle oil.

Season with salt, pepper and basil.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Roast asparagus until tender, about 8 minutes.

Transfer to a platter and garnish with fresh herbs.Braised Chicken Thighs And Legs And Garlic(Serves 4)6 chicken legs and thighs, with skin and bones

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, to taste

Olive oil for sautéing

3 to 4 cups full-bodied red wine

10 raw, whole garlic cloves, peeled

10 whole cloves garlic confit

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to tasteTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 275°F.

Wash the chicken with cold water and pat dry.

Season with salt, pepper and thyme.

Set a heavy casserole dish over moderate heat.

Coat the bottom with oil.

Place the chicken, skin side down, in the dish.

Sauté until brown on both sides, about 5 to 6 minutes per side.

Add wine, almost covering the chicken.

Toss in bay leaf, raw garlic and garlic confit.

Cover and bring to a boil.

Stir tomato paste into the sauce.

Transfer the casserole to the oven.

Bake about 2 hours, until the juices run clear when pierced with a two-pronged fork.

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