The New "It" Ingredient: Black Garlic.

By L. Stolpman in Food on Mar 4, 2009 4:20PM

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We were watching Iron Chef America the other day (Battle Redfish!) and noticed someone using black garlic, which Alton Brown informed us was a rare treat in kitchen stadium. The judges were certainly excited when they tasted it. The Le Bernadin episode of this season's Top Chef New York also mentioned black garlic. And The Washington Post's Bonnie Benwick featured it as the new 'it' ingredient in her article on February 24th. So what's all the fuss about? What the heck is black garlic?

Korean inventor Scott Kim developed a high-heat fermentation process (that lasts a month) to be applied to heads of garlic, creating high levels of antioxidants. The resulting garlic cloves are black with most, if not all, of the garlic flavor and taste eliminated. In its place is a sweet, licorice-flavor with a slightly chewy texture. Kim's company, Black Garlic, is the sole manufacturer in the states but is expanding its list of distributors and resellers.

As for where you may be able to get a taste of this highly sought after and talked about new ingredient, Benwick mentions that, "Matthias Merges, executive chef at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, tagged it as one of his top five food finds in the December 2008 issue of Restaurant News, a trade publication." According to this TaStE WiTh ThE EyEs entry, Trotter's served a "Forty Eight Hour Braised Short Rib with Chive Blossoms & Fermented Black Garlic." Mmm. We will let you know if we hear about its use in other Chicago restaurants.

Picture courtesy of Black Garlic.