Where sweet and pungent go together, honey and garlic make for an interesting contrast of flavors. Raw garlic cloves caramelize when infused with honey. The process of blending the ingredients is a short one, while the results improve with time. Garlic infused honey is one of my cupboard essentials, discovered while experimenting in the kitchen. I like to keep a jar of it in the pantry, available for immediate use drizzled over baked cheeses, fresh figs, or on grilled red capsicum peppers.
Honey and garlic can be prepared with raw and roasted garlic. Raw garlic makes for an intense honey. Roasted garlic is decidedly sweeter, and the honey is more subtle as a result. In both cases use the freshest garlic possible, with cloves as smooth and shiny as ivory.
Ingredients for honey infused with raw garlic
- 5 cloves of fresh garlic
- 200 grams of locally grown honey
- six sprigs of fresh thyme
Peel the garlic cloves and cut them into paper-thin slices. Shake off any sand or dirt on the fresh thyme sprig, before picking the leaves. Stir the garlic and thyme through the honey and put it in a glass jar, with a nicely fitted lid. Store the honey in the cupboard with other essential ingredients, for up to two months.
Ingredients for honey infused with roasted garlic
- 10 cloves of fresh garlic
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- 30 grams of dry white wine
- a sprinkle of sea salt
- 15 grams of extra virgin olive oil
- 250 grams of locally grown honey
- cracked white pepper corns
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Peel the garlic cloves. Stir the olive oil and white wine together with a whisk. Place the garlic on a square of baking paper and put it in a small ceramic oven dish. Pour the olive oil and white wine over the garlic. Sprinkle it with sea salt and top it off with fresh rosemary sprigs. Close the baking paper into a package and place the dish in the oven. Roast the garlic 15-20 minutes until the smell of garlic permeates the kitchen and the cloves are golden.
Remove the garlic from the baking paper and smash the garlic with a fork along with the remains of the olive oil and white wine juices. Stir the roasted garlic into the honey. Add some cracked white pepper. Pour the result of your efforts in a Mason jar and close it well. The infused honey will keep well for at least two months.
♦ Suggested combinations
Combine two tablespoons of raw garlic honey with the juice of one organic lemon and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Add a teaspoon of sharp Dijon mustard and four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and whisk the ingredients into a smooth vinaigrette. Pour the vinaigrette over a salad of fresh herbs and serve it with grilled salmon. Make extra and put it in the refrigerator for later use.
In the fall, add a few drops of white truffle olive oil to the roasted garlic honey and serve it with crisp and crunchy raw fennel, shaved paper-thin with a mandolin or a sharp knife.
There are many varieties of garlic to be found throughout the world. I prefer purple-striped, or silver skin rose garlic for the above recipes. This coming fall, I think I will grow my own.