One of mankind's oldest crops, garlic is also one of its most versatile. In its raw state, it brings fire to condiments and dishes such as ajo blanco, a cold, bracing Spanish soup; cooked, the heat mellows the acid in the cloves, lending it a sweetness that harmonizes beautifully with other ingredients. Here, 25 great ways to use it.
Whole garlic cloves perfume the braise for this tangy beef dish from Marvin Gapultos’ The Adobo Road Cookbook (Tuttle, 2013). Get the recipe for Filipino Beef Short Ribs Adobo »
The pasta for this potent and luxurious dish is cooked in chile-spiked chicken stock and bolstered by three preparations of garlic: roasted, fried, and sauteed.
Garlic-Steamed Manila Clams
Roasting garlic brings out its sweetness, so the flavors meld beautifully in this simple vanilla ice cream inspired by one served at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California.
Steaming eggplant, as opposed to deep-frying it, lightens this fragrant stir-fry adapted from a recipe in Grace Young and Alan Richardson’s The Breath of a Wok (Simon & Schuster, 2004). Get the recipe for Chinese Spicy Garlic Eggplant (Yu Xiang Qie Zi) »
This garlicky rice is a popular breakfast dish in the Philippines and is delicious served with fried eggs and a drizzle of vinegar sauce. Get the recipe for Filipino Garlic Fried Rice with Vinegar Sauce (Sinangag) »
When garlic cloves are chopped, the sulfur compounds and an enzyme called allinase, usually held separate within the clove, come into contact with one another. The collision generates the compound allicin, which gives garlic its pungency, and pyruvic acid, which is responsible for its spicy heat. But left intact, so that its volatile compounds don’t interact, garlic offers an entirely different character; roasting the cloves whole draws out their sweetness, yielding the sumptuous confit that adorns this pretty focaccia. Cook the focaccia on a pizza stone, which will give the bottom crust a delicious crunch.
Thirty cloves of garlic go into this creamy side dish, adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1 (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961). The cloves are first blanched whole, which enhances their sweetness, then used to make a rich béchamel sauce that’s stirred into mashed potatoes with cream and parsley. Get the recipe for Julia Child’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes »
Pungent raw garlic shines in this no-cook soup adapted from Claudia Roden’s The Food of Spain (Ecco, 2011). Get the recipe for Almond and Garlic Soup (Ajo Blanco) »
This crisp-skinned bird is cooked in a generous amount of butter and served with a delectable pan sauce of garlic and cilantro. A small chicken can be substituted for the Cornish game hen.
A blend of garlic, ginger, and chiles adorns this simple pan-fried fish adapted from a recipe in James Oseland’s Cradle of Flavor (W. W. Norton & Company, 2006). Get the recipe for Malaysian Pan-Seared Snapper with Garlic and Chiles (Chuan-Chuan) »
Our version of this classic uses peeled garlic; after removing the chicken from the pan, keep cooking the garlic until the cloves have all but melted. Then, a quick spin with a whisk makes a smooth sauce well worth the effort of all that peeling. Get the recipe for Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic »
Roasting garlic scapes with tomatoes and red onion sweetens them and enriches their flavor; toss them with pasta, lemon juice, and arugula for a simple summer meal. Get the recipe for Garlic Scape and Cherry Tomato Pasta »
Garlic Scape and Cannellini Bean Hummus
With a bright, fresh garlic flavor that’s like a cross between scallions and bulb garlic, garlic scapes—the curly green shoots of hard-neck garlic varieties—add a pungent bite to this hearty hummus made with cannellini beans. Serve it with fresh pita, crudités, or toasted baguette slices. See the recipe for Garlic Scape and Cannellini Bean Hummus »
Asian Greens with Garlic Sauce
In a breadbasket at Manhattan’s Carbone, we discovered the Platonic ideal of garlic bread. With roasted garlic butter made from freshly chopped cloves that are by turns sharp and mellow, heat from red chile flakes, and a bit of funk from parmesan, each crunchy bite of baguette, scattered with parsley and chives and bathed in olive oil, is fiercely flavorful and craveworthy.
A rich soup heavy with garlic and shallots makes a hearty first course or light main dish. Serve it with plenty of crusty bread. Get the recipe for Creamy Garlic Soup »
Cauliflower roasted until sweet with garlic and cumin gets tossed with toothsome gemelli pasta, golden raisins, and slivered almonds for crunch. Get the recipe for Gemelli with Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower »
Sopa de Ajo
Devised by Castillian shepherds seeking warmth on cold winter nights, sopa de ajo, or garlic soup, made with chicken stock, day-old bread, sinus-clearing hot paprika, and plenty of the stinking rose, is said to awaken dulled senses. Perhaps that’s why it’s also touted as a hangover cure. See the recipe for Sopa de Ajo »
Hand-Chopped Garlic Herb Salt
This recipe comes to us from Marisa McClellan, author of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round. If your mother or grandmother is still using dried and granulated garlic instead of fresh, make them a batch of this hand-chopped garlic herb salt. It’s the perfect gateway to the good stuff and will elevate their cooking immediately. See the recipe for Hand-Chopped Garlic Herb Salt »