"Mum's bought slugs!"
I hadn't of course, but I concede my latest vegetable discovery is a dead ringer for the Arion Ater lurking under the hostas in our garden. One of the earliest things we learnt in our Great Big Veg Challenge was to be brave, not to be frightened of the vegetable unknown. We have tried everything from seaweed, cacti and nettles to bitter gourd and now Black Garlic. Alex discovered them on a stall at MasterChef Live in London's Olympia. According to the packet, black garlic is aged white garlic. The packaging boasts the only ingredients are regular garlic, heat, humidity and time. So we bought some and brought them home.
The little black cloves have the texture of a piece of chewy liquorice. They taste of fermented wine, intense sweet garlic, a touch of liquorice and the bizarre thing is although you are eating whole cloves of garlic, your breath doesn't stink. And in our house, this is a critical issue. My husband has a deep-seated loathing of garlic. His hatred of the stinking-rose extends to cooking smells and particuarly garlicky-breathe. This is a shame, because neither Freddie or Alex have inherited the garlic-hating gene. In fact, when Freddie was a toddler we called him dough-boy in honour of his ability to polish off a plate of Pizza Express garlic dough-balls in record time.
So as you can imagine, the prospect of being able to introduce garlic into family-mealtime without causing a rift is very welcome. I baked some Mushroom and Black Garlic Tartlets. (Or if you like Freddie's alternative name, Tarte au Slug). Freddie has learnt to enjoy mushrooms largely because of his friend Bertie's Superb Mushroom Pasta Sauce. (Click HERE to find the recipe - I assure you it can turn round the most ardent mushroom-haters.) Now 'He Who Hates Garlic' has decided that Black Garlic is acceptable. If any of you know any more about black garlic please let me know. I have a pot in the fridge and I need more recipes.
Mushroom and Black Garlic Tartlets
350g of sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp of olive oil
5 shallot onions peeled and very finely chopped
2 tbsp of finely chopped black garlic
375g of shortcrust pastry ready rolled
3 eggs, beaten
1 egg yolk, beaten
150 ml of milk
Some Parmegiano Cheese to grate over the tartlets
1. Lightly saute mushrooms and shallots in oil for 5 minutes until softened.
2. Season and add the chopped black garlic - saute for a further 3 minutes
3. Beat the eggs in a bowl with the milk and season with salt and pepper
4. Cut out the ready rolled pastry into circles big enough to line the mini-tartlet cases. ( Make sure they are lightly oiled before so the tarts don't stick)
5. Line the pastry cases equally and evenly with the mushroom, black garlic and shallot onions.
6. Pour over the egg and milk mixture.
7. Shave some parmegiano cheese over the top of each tartlet
8. Bake in a preheated oven for 30-35 mins at 200C
Serve hot or cold
Breathe liberally on friends and neighbours afterwards without fear of knocking them out with garlic breathe.