Wednesday, October 7, 2009
My Venture into Garlic
Of all of the recipes in my arsenal, this dipping oil is THE thing my mother requests most often. She likes it with an entire HEAD of garlic (about 15 cloves). Trust me – that's enough garlic to curl your toenails. I prefer to add half that amount. Even then, it's still too garlicky for some people. Warning: This recipe is for true garlic lovers only. Expect your taste buds to be fully stimulated.
My inspiration for this delicious concoction comes from a restaurant I used to frequent called Garozzo's. This recipe is my attempt to recreate their wonderful dipping oil. I could eat an entire loaf of bread when dipping it into this garlicious oil. The name implies that it has butter in it. It doesn't. I'm not sure why they named it Sicilian Butter. Frankly, I don't care. The only thing I know is that it's GOOD.
I have served this recipe at MANY dinner parties. People react three different ways when eating it: 1) they absolutely love it, 2) they like it but want me to add more garlic, or 3) they take a bite, their eyes bug out, and they start coughing – like they just took a swig of moonshine straight from the bottle. It's unapologetically intense. Oh, and it's fattening, too. Really fattening. What makes matters worse is that, once you've started eating it, YOU CANNOT STOP! It is so addictive!
Give your taste buds a workout and try this recipe. Enjoy – and happy fighting vampires!
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8 cloves garlic (about 1/2 of a head) or to taste, minced
1 1/4 cups high-quality, extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 pinches of salt
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 pinches red chili flakes (optional)
2 tsp chopped, fresh basil
THIS IS GARLICKY! Despite the name, it contains no butter. I prefer to whisk all of the ingredients together (except for the basil) and let the mixture sit on the counter in a covered bowl for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to meld. Right before serving, I add the chopped basil. Serve the Sicilian Butter in shallow serving plates with Italian bread, focaccia, or French Bread. You can easily halve or double the recipe as needed.
Note Regarding Olive Oils: If you do not normally use olive oil, you may not appreciate the bitter/herbal characteristics of some extra virgin olive oils. I like first-pressed olive oils the best but, for some people, they are an acquired taste. If you're unaccustomed to using olive oil, I recommend you use a light olive oil the first time. Light, in this context, means "lightly flavored" as opposed to "low in calories." If you plan on using an olive oil that you've never tasted before, please be sure to taste the oil before making this recipe. If you hate the taste of the oil straight from the bottle, the rest of the ingredients will not make up for that.
Note Regarding Garlic: This recipe is intended to be very garlicky. My mother prefers an entire HEAD of garlic in it (about 15 cloves or so). That much garlic could curl your toenails. Eight cloves is still VERY garlicky. Feel free to use less. You can always add more later. Another option would be to measure out the 1 1/4 cups of olive oil and then pour a tablespoon of that oil into a small skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Don't let the skillet get too hot. Add the garlic to the skillet and gently, gently cook it for about 30 seconds – no more. Add the cooked garlic back into the olive oil you measured out earlier. This short cooking time will significantly reduced the harsh flavor of the garlic. In my family, this technique would be heresy.
Posted by Cooking Ventures at 6:12 AM