Which is why I ate two whole bulbs of garlic yesterday for lunch. That may sound like a lot, even by a garlic lover’s standard! But once you’ve individually battered and deep fried each clove, it suddenly becomes the most insurmountable task and you’re all, why didn’t I do this with five bulbs of garlic. I guess it’s the same as potato crisps: if you said “I just ate forty slices of potato” you might raise some eyebrows but if you said “I just hooned a can of Pringles, salt and vinegar flavour” you’ll receive nothing but envious sighs and sage nods of understanding.
It’s hard to explain exactly but I’m always trying to undo layers when when I think up recipes: with this one I didn’t have the appetite for a big meal and simply wanted a ton of garlic, rather than having to eat something else that had been annointed with garlic, if that makes sense. What if I fried the garlic cloves themselves so they became crunchy little morsels, like fries? This proved to be surprisingly easy. And monumentally delicious. A quick simmer in water to soften the garlic and remove its harsh, burning edge, a very quickly made batter, and a quick fry in a little oil. That’s it! And in a charming piece of serendipity, the leftover batter itself, when fried, makes delicious little garlic-tinted pancakes, so you don’t have to waste anything if you don’t want.
But the garlic is the star: bite through the hot, crisp exterior and the centre is pure, soft, sweet dissolving garlic. You could argue that they’re kind of pointless (you could do a number of things) but you could increase the number of bulbs and make a bowlful as a Netflix-and-chill type snack or scatter them through a salad or pasta or combine them with some other small fried thing like halloumi, or indeed, just use them to ward off your own sickness. I’m not going to lie: I totally drank the water that the bulbs had simmered in, in the vain hope of gaining every last bit of garlicky goodness. It was honestly delicious in a broth-y type way and there’s no reason you can’t save it for a risotto or soup or similar. The turmeric isn’t exactly crucial but it gives a gorgeous golden colour and is also full of cold-fighting skills so you might as well include it, yeah?
crunchy golden fried garlic cloves and crispy garlic pancakes
a recipe by myself.
two garlic bulbs (or more! You won’t regret it.)
three tablespoons of tapioca flour (or regular flour)
three tablespoons of fine cornmeal
one heaped teaspoon of turmeric
three tablespoons or so of cold water
salt and pepper
plain oil, such as rice bran, for frying
Place the whole garlic bulbs in a good-sized saucepan and cover, just, with water. Bring to the boil, and place a lid on top slightly askew so you let out some steam. Let them briskly simmer away for about ten minutes or until a knife stabbed at them suggests they’re pretty soft. Remove from the water and put them in a sieve under cold running water for a bit so they’re cool enough to handle. Slice the base off – it should come off fairly easily.
In a bowl, mix together the tapioca flour, cornmeal, turmeric, salt, pepper, and water, to form a thickish batter. Add a little more water or a little more cornmeal if it needs thinning or thickening.
Heat about a centimetre of oil in a wide pan over a high heat. Gently coax the garlic cloves out of their casings – this shouldn’t be too hard although allow for the occasional delicious casualty – and drop them in the batter. Once coated, drop them in the oil and allow them to fry for roughly a minute each side or until golden brown and crisp. Repeat with the remaining garlic. If some cloves bust into pieces while you’re trying to extract them from their casings just throw them in the batter and fry them anyway, it’s all good. Remove the fried cloves to a paper towel or similar till you’ve done all of them, then, if you wish, fry spoonfuls of the remaining batter until crisp and dark golden. EAT THE LOT.
I’m so sick that I had to actually have a lie down after walking twenty metres to the fruit and vege mart around the corner from my apartment to get this garlic, so hopefully that is some indicator of the relative ease of this recipe that I was able to make it at all.
Okay, I do feel a tiny bit weird about that rant that I went on – I usually respond to that sort of thing a lot more privately by complaining about it to friends in real life or something. And I’m really lucky that the amount of bother I encounter online is relatively small compared to the tremendous amount that many people, including several friends of mine, put up with. But if you’re supposed to be the bigger person and ignore everything that hurts you, does that mean people get to just hurt your feelings forever and ever and that’s it? Seriously? You can’t sell me on that. And I’m very easily sold on stuff. So you know it’s a bad concept. You know what’s a great concept? Individually battering and frying every last clove in a bulb of garlic, twice, and then eating the lot, and then lying down and binge-watching Miss Fisher’s Charming Murder Mysteries on Netflix. Period procedural dramas are the paracetamol of television, and television is the paracetamol of life, and garlic is nature’s paracetamol. Then have some actual paracetamol, which is the real paracetamol of life, and you’re momentarily set, until the next coughing fit at least.
PS Some other recipes that I’ve done that I feel convey this unpacking of layers of flavour and texture that I’m really into but not good at explaining are: Garnish Salad and Browned Butter Ice Cream. Basically I just lie there and I’m like “yes but what do I want?” until the idea simplifies down to its purest form. Being massively sick clouds that vision somewhat but I came through!
title from: Thee Oh Sees and their charmingly scuzzy song Grease.
Laura Lee, Dreamers. The bae Laura Lee is back at it again with her moody, swoony style of music and I’m so happy about it.
Craig Mack, Flava In Ya Ear. One of the most perfect songs ever, indubitably.
next time: More scone pizza? I’m kidding Anonymous, we’re good? Either way, if I’m still sick I’ll be so mad!
11 thoughts on “garlic springs up where you walk, bells ring out baby when you talk”
Laura! I want to eat this! I want to eat this so much! And I want to comment like the pre-twitter days and tell you all about the recipes of yours I have recreated, and who I fed them to, and how they were received, and how I decided to make those particular cookies for that particular person because the song used to title the blog post made me think of that time we sang it out loud that time we were in Waitarere drinking cask wine. It's all so delicious. And goddammit, I am for sure going to make scone dough pizza before winter is through.
I love reading your blog and the person who thinks scone pizza is not worthy is missing out. Hope you feel better soon.
Love that you snuck 'charming' in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. I binged that show so hard, and oh man that romantic tension, it's so thick you could cut it with an overcooked scone dough pizza.
Oh honey! I TOTALLY understand the feeling of letting a negative blog comment get to you! Luckily, it's an extremely rare occurrence for me, so the couple of times it did happen, I totally stewed on it for days!
First up, if someone wants to give you constructive feedback, I think that's great! If they want to be anonymous douchebags then they can go eat a bag of Ds as far as I'm concerned. And seriously, where do people get off telling you to get your act together for a blog that you provide for free and that you cook for, photograph and write in your own time?
Forgot to add – fried garlic looks truly excellent, would eat. 🙂
Laura, I am finally commenting and I should have done it long ago. I live in the United Stated of America and don't know how I found your blog but am so happy I did. I adore your writing style, it speaks to me. I have made several of your recipes and they have been wonderful. Thank you.
I worked in hospo, it sucked the life right outta my bones. And even though I'm now a 9-5 I still can't seem to find the time to do anything creative. Hats off to you, your blog is awesome, long live scone pizza!
The comment seems to have hit a nerve, or you wouldn't have reacted in this way. On reflection, 'life happenings' was unfair, and I apologise for that – but I do maintain, you can do better than scone dough pizza.
Disappointed aka 'anonymous'.
Of course getting a comment like that would “hit a nerve” when Laura has obviously poured so much love & time & effort into this blog over the years. Just because something doesn't float your boat doesn't mean that Laura shouldn't be into it! You're more than welcome to not read it, least of all not go out of your way to bring someone down like that. It's rude. Do you please all people all the time in your life? If not sit down please & mind your manners.
I think you're missing the point Sarah. The feedback wasn't intended to be malicious (and I do believe 'anonymous' also mentioned that Laura has a lovely way with words that keeps them coming back). 'Anonymous' also apologised for commenting on her personal life. What you're left with is honest feedback and I really do think, if you've got a public blog, you should be open to all feedback – negative and positive. Anyway, you're obviously supporting your friend which is lovely and I'm sure she's grateful.
I have really only just discovered your blog, and am binge-reading. 🙂 The garlic looks pretty amazing!
I have blogged about 5 years or so. It is mainly just for my own enjoyment, and for fun and to have a bit of a hobby outside of the relentless treadmill that is life. I don't get many comments, but remember being floored when someone said ;'who wants to read about what you f** eat each day?'. (That comment did NOT get approved, maybe I should have responded). Well the clue is in the name… it is a food blog. And it is mine and I will post what I want.
Anyway, I love food blogs. And I am so going to try that scone pizza.
Blog on. 🙂