Calling garlic lovers

In Recipies on November 14, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I am a garlic-o-phile.

Our house is permeated with its smell.  Our clothes smell of garlic.  And yes, our breath smells of garlic.

I buy garlic in five-pound bags about every two months.  It keeps nicely in the basement if you put it in a mesh bag and hang it from a rafter.  Besides, rumor has it, that the odor of garlic in a basement will keep away insects and rodents.

My local mass food retailer sells garlic for fifty-cents per bulb and one of the wholesale clubs (which I refuse to patronize) carries garlic in three-pound bags at a much lower price than the other wholesale club in town.

The former gets their garlic from the People’s Republic of China, whereas the latter imports its garlic from the People’s Republic of California.  I noticed that the bulbs of the California product are much larger.  At any rate, the price beats 50-cents per bulb at the grocer.

[NOTE:  If you buy “elephant garlic”, you are really buying an onion and not true garlic.  And now, you know.]

My father (z”l) used to work with a man who came to America from Greece.  He used to tell us that the guy used to pull a bulb (not a clove) of garlic from his lunch pail and he would eat it like an apple.

The man never missed work due to illness.

[NOTE:  A “clove” is one of the segments of a garlic “bulb” and a bulb may have 15-20 cloves.]

I recently made a Shabbat supper in homage to my father’s workmate.  The recipe, originally Greek, customarily uses tuna…whereas I substituted a hearty cut of salmon.

[NOTE:  I just thumbed through a book describing how cunning marketing moved sushi (tuna) from a Japanese curiosity into American mainstream dining.  Hence, two nice tuna steaks will now set you back more than two high quality rib-eye steaks.]

This recipe serves a pungent fish next to even more pungent potatoes.  While cooking/roasting the potatoes will give your house a wonderful Old World aroma of garlic and oregano.  I had a bumper crop of oregano this year and my pot of it continues to grow contentedly under grow lights.  I found I can keep my little crop going year-round, provided that I take care not to over-water when the plants are indoors for the season.

One may think that potatoes are not normally thought of as being part of Greek dining.  However, those areas sharing culture with lands of the former Yugoslavia do, indeed, see the potato as part of the regular Greek diet.

Enough jabbering…let’s cook up some garlic!

2 large, thick cuts of salmon (8-10oz each)

6 large garlic cloves, minced

½ C olive oil

½ C lemon juice

½ C chopped parsley

1 14oz can of diced tomatoes (juice reserved)

1 lb diced (large dice) potato

3/4 C (loosely packed) fresh oregano, chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper

 Mix the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and one half of the oregano into a marinade and pour it into a glass dish big enough to hold the salmon filets in a single layer.  Season the salmon with a bit of salt and pepper and marinate it in the refrigerator for 2 hrs, turning every 30 minutes.

Pre-heat an oven to 375F.  Remove the salmon from the marinade.  Mix the parsley into the marinade and then gently toss the diced potato with the marinade and place it in an oven-safe dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven to 350F.  Place the salmon in a roasting pan and spoon a bit of the marinade over the fish.  Drain the tomatoes and reserve the liquid.  Scatter the tomatoes over the salmon.  Remove the potatoes and scatter them among the tomatoes.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the salmon from the oven and increase the temperature to 425C.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes from the roasting pan and return them to the original pan.  Pour the reserved tomato juice over the potatoes and scatter the remaining oregano on top.  Return them to the oven for 15 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden brown at the edges.  During the last 5 minutes, return the salmon to the oven to reheat it.

Remove the salmon and potatoes from the oven.  Transfer the salmon to a platter and pour the tomatoes over the salmon.  Plate the potatoes next to the smothered salmon.  Garnish with a few fresh leaves of oregano.

MORE garlic!

While the fish and potatoes are cooking, prepare this classic Greek spinach side-dish using pine nuts and raisins.

We love the smell of toasting pine nuts!  Pine nuts are the one extravagance we allow, simply because they are SO good in salads, pilafs, and other dishes.  Due to their expense, I have tried substituting other nuts and the result is not anywhere near as good as with pine nuts.

I have always made this recipe using raisins, but I am considering trying it with dates or figs instead.  Also, timing is not critical with this dish as it can be served hot or at room temperature.

Let’s make some spinach!

1 onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 TBS olive oil

1 pound baby spinach, large stems removed

1 C pine nuts, toasted

1 C raisins, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes

salt and freshly ground pepper

 Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering.  Sauté the onion until it turns deep golden.  Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute.  Stir in the spinach by the handful, allowing it to wilt.  When all of the spinach has been cooked, stir in the raisins and pine nuts.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm or hot.

These dishes go well with freshly baked pita used to sop up the rich fish juices.

Vampires beware!


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