The allium or lily family of vegetables are our featured winter vegetables for the week. These include onions, shallots, and garlic—pantry basics that lend flavor and depth, especially during winter, when used on their own or in combination with other food. Jean from Gimme the Knife, a previous contributor to this series, has sent us another guest post, generously sharing some menu ideas for using garlic. Her recipe for Roasted Garlic Butter ended up including a trifecta of alliums—garlic, onions and shallots all! Here’s Jean:
Garlic: I suppose you either love it or you hate it. Personally, I can’t imagine being cooped up during New Hampshire nor’easters without it! These are just a few of the ways we fended off vampires while boosting our immune systems this past week (local foods in bold):
- Roasted potato, butternut squash, and red onion frittata, with Tuscan rolls (Me&Ollie’s) smothered in roasted garlic butter (butter recipe below)
- Chicken Caesar salad with homemade garlicky croutons (from Beach Pea bread)
With a handful of spuds, shallot and onion still sitting around from my last visit to the farmers’ market, there was no better time for roasting up a couple bulbs of garlic. Sage leaves from my snow-buried plants infused the potatoes with their scent and, along with the garlic, shallot, onions, provided for one of the tastiest compound butters I’ve ever made:
Roasted Garlic Butter
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
Cloves from one bulb of roasted garlic
2–3 small roasted shallots, minced
Roasted red onion (I used 2 segments of a quartered medium-sized onion), minced
1 tsp. honey, more or less to taste
Finely minced roasted sage leaves, to taste
Cayenne pepper and sea salt, to taste
Mash/blend/whip everything—whichever you desire—together in a small bowl. We prefer chunky, and so mash with a fork. Using a spatula, scrape the mix out onto one side of a 12×12 sheet of parchment paper, forming a short log as best you can. Carefully roll up, twisting ends tightly to form a solid log. Alternatively, scrape it all into a custard dish and cover. Refrigerate for an hour or so. Slice into circles or use a melon baller for an elegant presentation. Warning: super addictive. Think savory frosting sweetened by the caramelized onions and shallots.
As for the harissa, it is one of our favorite condiments. With its whopping punch of garlic and chilies (remember to stock up on some of those fabulous chilies you see at the farmers’ market come late summer/early fall this year—drying them is super easy), harissa is considered not for the faint of heart (perhaps all the more reason to eat it!). For me, the heat is minimal: first there’s sweetness, then mild warmth that hits the center of my tongue and upper palate, slipping away after a short while. It’s not one of those bites of heat, like wasabi. Rather, this version of harissa is subtle.
Harissa is a North African staple used by a variety of cultures in a variety of dishes, namely with fish, lamb, goat, chickpeas, couscous…you name it. We love it in a Moroccan fish stew that I made recently with many local ingredients, including gorgeous cod (frozen over from that same last farmers’ market visit), homemade shrimp and lobster stocks, a jar of stewed tomatoes from a friend, and all kinds of aromatics that you can still purchase at the farmers’ market.
Ed. Note: Dried chilies may still be found at the Winter Farmers’ Market, ask around next time you’re there!