When I cook with garlic I don’t hold back. Sure, you can use it as an accent or flavoring in virtually any type of savory cooking, but sometimes I build an entire dish around it. Take roasted garlic, for example. I take a whole head or two of garlic, cut off about ¼-inch from the top of the bulbs, place it in a small skillet and pop it in the oven. Bathed in olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, the "stinking rose" mellows and sweetens as it roasts. When it’s soft and still warm, I spread the creamy cloves onto thick crusty bread or toss them with pasta. And each spring, when the first asparagus appears, I roast the green spears (with a touch of olive oil and grated lemon zest) then top them with whole cloves of roasted garlic, fresh chives, crunchy toasted walnuts and a garlic-scape vinaigrette. Spring on a plate.
My relationship with garlic runs deep. I was reminded just how deep when a friend was recently describing the qualities she looks for in an ideal mate. She talked about wanting someone who was "passionate about his work" and "definitely not a vegetarian." It got me thinking about the question (despite the fact that I have been happily married for close to 30 years now). I admire a great sense of humor. And people who are strong, but willing to show weakness. What else? Then it hit me. I could never, ever live with someone who doesn’t adore garlic.