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Last week, I was given the opportunity to cook for a presentation using Black Garlic, an ingredient which is making a big noise in food at the moment and something Leathams has recently started to exclusively distribute.

Having not had the chance to properly experiment and cook with the ingredient before, it was great to develop a full lunch menu where I could get really creative. For those who are reading this and might not be familiar with it, Black Garlic is not a different species to traditional white garlic. In fact it starts life as white garlic, albeit really good quality, premium bulbs, then under special conditions the garlic is slowly matured giving it the most wonderfully sweet, balsamic flavour. The texture turns softer and slightly jelly-likeafter the maturation process and is odourless, with twice the level of anti-oxidants as white garlic.

What you really have to remember when using this ingredient is that Black Garlic is not a replacement for fresh garlic, but can even enhance dishes alongside regular garlic. Because of the unique and altogether different flavour to white garlic it has very diverse uses.

For this particular presentation I developed three recipes to showcase the product consisting of; a roasted beer can chicken which I rubbed a rich herby Black Garlic butter into the skin, a panzanella salad with orzo, ciabatta croutons and Black Garlic and finally a Black Garlic Risotto.

I was really pleased with the results – these tried and tested recipes were given a real lift by the addition of the Black Garlic. If you’d like to have a go, here’s a recipe for my Black Garlic Risotto.

Black Garlic Risotto

Serves 4

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

120g of chopped shallots

250g of Arborio rice

800ml chicken stock

Half a glass of white wine

6-8 cloves of Black Garlic, finely chopped

80g of Parmigiano Reggiano

50g unsalted butter

Method:

  1. Gently fry the shallots with half the butter until they become translucent then add the rice and toss in the butter and shallots.
  2. Pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan, then add the chicken stock (a ladle full at a time) until the rice is covered. Next cover the pan and leave to simmer.
  3. After about 5 minutes, season as necessary before adding the Black Garlic. Leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes taste, the rice should be nearly cooked through with a slight al dente texture. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano and remaining butter. Cover the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir the risotto and serve whilst hot.

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