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Jun 21, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose

There is a special technique used in France to mellow the sharpness of fresh garlic. I discovered it years ago in one of Roger Vergé's books and have used it ever since when adding raw garlic to a dish. It maintains the wonderful garlic flavor but tames the bite just a bit.

You don't have to peel the garlic cloves because the peel slips off easily after boiling.

Place the garlic in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring it to a boil and drain it immediately. Repeat three to 5 times and then use it to mince or slice into your recipe. Here is my favorite one for Casear salad dressing that I've been in the process of perfecting for years.

I discovered the beautiful and highly functional granite mortar and pestle when visiting my friend Anna Schwartz in Melbourne Australia. She offered to ship me one but then discovered that it was available in a terrific little Thai store in Chinatown not far from where I live. Elliott had to take me by car because it was too heavy to carry very far! It was relatively inexpensive--around $35 and will last several life-times.

The store will ship so if so inclined here's the contact info.

888-618-THAI
www.importfood.com/mortarpestle.html

If you don't have a mortar and pestle, mince the garlic and anchovies by hand.

Caesar Salad Dressing

Makes enough for 8 servings--use about 4 Romaines
7 fluid ounces/200 ml/188 grams/6.6 ounces

4 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic
pinch of coarse salt
1 egg yolk
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup + 2T vegetable oil 100 grams 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pound anchovies, garlic, and salt in mortar and pestle to form a paste.

Whisk in yolk and lemon juice until smooth. Gradually whisk in vegetable oil, then olive oil and zest.

Use within a few hours or refrigerate, bring to room temperature, and whisk lightly.

To make the salad, cut off the base of the Romaines and separate into leaves. Tear the larger leaves into thirds, the medium ones into halves, and leave the little ones whole.

In a large salad bowl, toss the Romaine and dressing until well mixed. Add some of Parmesan cheese and toss to mix it in.

I like to use about 160 grams/ 5.6 ounces and toss most of it with the salad, sprinkling the rest on top of each serving. Since we adore anchovies, I also dot the top with little pieces of them.

Comments

I've been using this technique with garlic now after I had a very bad experience with sharp garlic that ruined/overpowered a salad dressing. It is very easy and it really does work well!

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The Thai Granite Stone Mortar & Pestle is not permeable, so it does not retain the odor of the spices or herbs. To clean it you just rinse and drip dry, and there is no need to pre-treat it in a special way (unlike the Mexican type of Lava mortar and pestle). You can purchase this type of mortar and pestle set here also:
http://www.templeofthai.com/mortar_and_pestle/mortar_pestle.php

By the way Rose I just ordered your Bread Bible and cannot wait to get my hands on it! I hear it is really THE book on the topic! :-)

REPLY

The Thai Granite Stone Mortar & Pestle is not permeable, so it does not retain the odor of the spices or herbs. To clean it you just rinse and drip dry, and there is no need to pre-treat it in a special way (unlike the Mexican type of Lava mortar and pestle). You can purchase this type of mortar and pestle set here also:
https://www.templeofthai.com/mortar_and_pestle/mortar_pestle.php

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i always make extra bc it is so delicious. it keeps perfectly for about 5 days. i'll be making it for my dad for lunch this week-yummmm!

thanks for your appreciation. yes--blogging takes up so much time but is so worth it to share all this great stuff.

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I made grilled chicken ceaser salad using your recipe and it was wonderful. What I liked was the light garlic with the lemon. How long would you keep this type of dressing in the refig, I had some left? I have a white china morter and I just put it in the dishwasher and that takes care of the garlic odor. I have been a fan of yours since your first book. I have learned so much from you. Thanks for all you share and the blog. I know it is allot of hard work.

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I made grilled chicken ceaser salad using your recipe and it was wonderful. What I liked was the light garlic with the lemon. How long would you keep this type of dressing in the refig, I had some left? I have a white china morter and I just put it in the dishwasher and that takes care of the garlic odor. I have been a fan of yours since your first book. I have learned so much from you. Thanks for all you share and the blog. I know it is allot of hard work.

REPLY

towanfun@yahoo.com
towanfun@yahoo.com
07/ 2/2008 01:17 AM

FYI

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I would LOVE to know how to make the cucumber/yogurt sauce! Do you have a recipe? Thanks!

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My Greek hubby taught me a the secret to getting garlic into a paste quickly with a mortar and pestle: Put salt on it! You wouldn't believe how well this works, just remember to adjust salt in the recipe. I do it all the time for making Tzatiki (hard to spell in English), the cucumber/yogurt sauce.

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Mortar---I bought mine in TJ Mexico years ago when they were dirt cheap. They use the the mortar and pestle to mash their roasted chilies, garlic, and avocados.They are absolutely wonderful. After using the mortar I rinse it out with water sometimes with vinegar to disinfect it. They highly recommend that you don't use dish detergent in cleaning the mortar. Just plain water or vinegar.

Garlic---I've been using this method for years. I found it in one of my cookbooks. I don't rinse my garlic 3 to 4 times as you do. In a small saucepan I simply add the water just to cover the chopped garlic, and bring it to boil, lower the heat to simmer, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Then I use a potato masher and mash the garlic, which helps in breaking down the garlic further. Especially when you are cooking for people who don't like garlic. Yes even when you don't rinse out the garlic 3 to 4 times the flavor of the garlic is still very mild. By rinsing the garlic out and refreshing it with water 4 time you are washing away all the vital healing nutrients found in garlic. I choose not to rinse the garlic with water for this reason.

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My mother used to keep a jar full of peeled garlic cloves, lightly blanched, in a mix of water and vinegar. I wonder if this has similar effect.

Here is my mortar, and it is dated year 1200 A.D. It is Inca. I am often tempted to carve it deeper but let another 1200 years of use do it instead.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/savory/MorteroInca.html

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I learned from a friend to do the same with garlic, but are you saying one needs to dump the boiled water - put fresh water on garlic, and boil again? - Up to three/four times?

Love your blog!

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I've just bought a mortar and pestle that looks just like yours, Rose, from TKMaxx for £9.99, that's about $20!! A great bargain, I think. I have had a small one for years but it was practically useless but this one is so satisfying and I love looking at it on my granite island unit, and my husband loves it too! What a coincidence to see yours this week, we have something else in common now!

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I bought my first mortar and pestle when I lived in France. I used it to make a wonderful, vibrant pesto that I was unable to reproduce any other (read:easier) way. It's a curiously- satisfying method...and a good work-out for your arms! I did, however, have the feeling I should be sitting on the ground, outside, and preferably in a cave somewhere to complete the "rustic" picture. :)

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Zach townsend
Zach townsend
06/21/2008 11:00 AM

Thanks! It looks like a wonderful recipe and great tip on the garlic!

Zach

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no--amazingly no odor remains. i wash the granite with soap and water and rinse it well.

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How do you clean the mortar and pestle after use? Do you use soap and water?

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Zach townsend
Zach townsend
06/21/2008 10:48 AM

Looks delicious! Do you find the garlic permeates the stone of the mortar and pestal or is pretty much untraceable once it's cleaned? How do you clean the mortar and pestal made with granite, just wiping it out?

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