Black garlic (food)
Black garlic is a type of caramelized garlic used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic over the course of several weeks, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or even tamarind. Black garlic's popularity has spread to the United States as it has become a sought-after ingredient used in high-end cuisine. It is unrelated to a genetically unique six-clove garlic also called black garlic and used in countries such as Korea, or with the ornamental plant Allium nigrum.
In Korea, black garlic was introduced as a health product and it is still perceived as health supplementary food. Black Garlic is prized as a food rich in antioxidants and added to energy drinks, and in Thailand is claimed to increase the consumer's longevity. It is also used to make black garlic chocolate.
It was written up in the Spring 2008 "Design and Living" special section of The New York Times as a "new staple" of modern cuisine (and incorporated into a recipe, "Black Garlic Roast Chicken"); the NYT author, Merrill Stubbs, noted it was being used by chef Bruce Hill of Bix Restaurant, San Francisco. Matthias Merges, executive chef at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, listed black garlic as one of his top five food finds in Restaurant News in December 2008. The rise of black garlic in the US was called "sensational," and other trade publications besides Restaurant News have noticed the trend.
It garnered television attention when it was used in battle redfish on Iron Chef America, episode 11 of season 7 (on Food Network), and in an episode of Top Chef New York (on Bravo), where it was added to a sauce accompanying monkfish.
Black garlic was developed by Korean inventor Scott Kim, beginning in 2004. He then created the company Black Garlic, which is the exclusive distributor in the US, and is based in Hayward, California.
In 2011, it was used on an episode of Food Network's Chopped Champions. In September 2011, it was a mandatory ingredient in the final round of the second episode of Ron Ben-Israel's Sweet Genius.
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- "Bruce Hill of Bix Restaurant in San Francisco, who says the garlic possesses distinct notes of balsamic vinegar, incorporates it into dishes ranging from roast chicken to grilled calamari with fregola and black garlic aioli. Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., is experimenting with ways to ferment his own sweet Italian garlic." Stubbs, Merrill (2008-05-04). "The New Staples: The Ingredients of the Season, from Terrestrial to Ethereal". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
- "The cloves are jet black with a sweet taste somewhat like roasted garlic but with almost licorice tones. Charlie Trotter's has used the cloves to season short ribs that were braised for 48 hours." Krondl, Michael (2008-12-08). [dead link] "On the cutting edge: Favorite 5 food finds of chef Matthias Merges". Restaurant News. Retrieved 2009-03-01.[dead link]
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