I’d never seen elephant garlic before. A visit to a house in Somerset led me to the vast gardens in which I first spotted the long, thick stalks with a a flowering head.
Elephant garlic actually belongs to the onion family. It is much milder than garlic and so lends itself well to being used raw in salads and also very good when making aioli.
The cloves are very large and so are easy to peel and slice. You can buy them at most garden centres and grow them yourself.
Here’s a couple of recipes that are easy and delicious.
450gr raw king prawns
1 small glass of white wine
1 small glass of olive oil
2 cloves of elephant garlic, sliced
1 birds eye chili, very finely diced
handful of parsley leaves, shredded
pinch of Maldon sea salt
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. When very hot, add the prawns and chili and cook for a minute. Turn them over, add the garlic and after thirty seconds pour in the wine. Let this bubble for two minutes, sprinkle in the salt and turn off the heat. Pour into a bowl, scatter over the leaves and serve with a sourdough baguette, a bottle of Greco di Tufo and three very good friends.
There is an element of bloody hard work where aioli is concerned. Whisking till you hurt, as it were, but believe you me it’s worth it.
2 cloves of elephant garlic
2 large free range egg yolks
300ml excellent quality olive oil
good pinch of Maldon sea salt
Crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar with the salt. Add the yolks and beat well to incorporate. Add a couple of drops of olive oil and whisk thoroughly. Continue until you have used half of the oil and then gradually add more quickly till you have a shiny, unctuous bowl of garlic heaven.