A neighbor gave me some fresh garlic a few months ago. I hung it up in my garage to dry and washed it this week and brought it inside. That made me think of fresh garlic and if I ever remember my Mother or Grandmother using fresh garlic. No!!! Never!!! I went through some of my older cookbooks and most of the recipes called for garlic salt or garlic powder. I do remember a few years ago roasted garlic became such a trendy thing and people bought all kinds of gadgets to use for their garlic.
I must make a confession. I did not start using fresh garlic until last year when I became a food network fan. All of those people use fresh garlic. I started using it and I try to make things as simple as possible so here is how I have learned to work with it. I bought the small packages you find in the grocery store that has the bulb. That is the big part and a clove is one of the parts of the bulb. I didn’t know that either. There are garlic presses available and I have one but I don’t like it. I just think it smashed the garlic too much. I use a real sharp knife and mince it that way. I don’t think fresh garlic is as potent as the powdered garlic or the garlic salt. I think it gives my food flavor without the strong over-powering taste.
Here is a recipe for salad dressing that uses fresh garlic and it has a similar taste to the Olive Garden Salad Dressing. It was given to me by a friend that really did not like to cook at all. She could whip up this dressing with a salad and make it seem special. It really impressed her guests. Making a homemade salad dressing is really very easy and this is one of my favorites.
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 tsp pepper or to taste
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
mix minced garlic with salt in bottom of bowl. Add all other ingredients and whisk together. Dress favorite salad greens with dressing.
As much as I believe in the Southern traditions, I think a great new addition to our culture is the use of fresh garlic.