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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Garlic almost as important as Holy Trinity

One of the most used ingredient in my cooking is garlic. My brother once sent me a recipe calling for 1/2 clove of garlic. We both laughed. Rarely will I cook with less that two cloves of garlic. It is almost as important ingredient in Creole and Cajun cooking as the Holy Trinity is.

Today, I am sharing two recipes that features the Stinking Rose. The first uses the most popular seafood, Garlic Grilled Shrimp. The second one is from a great French Quarter restaurant, Garlic Chicken from Mr. B’s. Go grab some garlic from the Farmer’s Market and Let’s head to the kitchen!

Garlic Grilled Shrimp

Here is a grilled version of Shrimp Scampi. If you want to make a pasta out of it. Warm up the marinade after the shrimp are on the grill and toss with your favorite pasta shape.

2 pounds Louisiana shrimp (21-25 count)

1/4 cup canola oil

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Italian seasonings

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

Place the shrimp in a large glass bowl. Stir remaining ingredients together, pour over shrimp. Cover and marinate for 3 to 4 hours.

Grill over hot heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.

Garlic Chicken from Mr. B’s

Mr’ B’s is one of my favorite restaurants in the French Quarter. If you want a more pronounced garlic flavor, add as many cloves as you like.

8 heads garlic

2 whole chickens (each about 3 pounds), quartered and thigh bone removed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup orzo

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

12 oven-roasted tomato halves (recipe to follow)

4 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 325℉.

Wrap garlic heads in aluminum foil, placing 4 heads in one sheet and the other four in another. Roast in oven 35 minutes, or until soft. Let cool. Slice off papery tops of garlic and squeeze out roasted cloves. Transfer half of garlic to a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside remaining whole garlic cloves.

Increase oven temperature to 350℉.

Season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add 4 chicken quarters, breast side down, and sear until golden brown. Transfer to a large baking pan. Sear remaining chicken in the same manner. Roast chicken in oven until the thigh registers 18 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. ( A small chicken will roast in about 1 1/4 hours; a large one may take 1 1/2 hours or more.)

Increase oven temperature to 400℉. Slather puréed garlic over chicken and roast 5 minutes more, or until garlic is browned. Transfer chicken to a platter and let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and stir in orzo. Cook orzo until al dente and drain. Toss with rosemary, salt and pepper.

Set baking pan that held chicken over stove. Add stock, scraping up any bits on bottom of pan, and reduce slightly. add whole roasted garlic, tomatoes, butter and salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon orzo on plates and top with chicken and sauce.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Halve Roma tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 250℉ oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Store in refrigerator covered with olive oil.

If you want a mellower garlic flavor in your recipes, use roasted garlic. Here’s the recipe for that.

Roasted Garlic

1 head of garlic

1½ tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 325℉. Cut about ½ inch of the top of the garlic head. Cut the roots so that the garlic will sit flat. Remove most of the skin from the garlic, but leave enough so that the cloves stay together. Place the garlic in a small baking pan, drizzle the olive oil over the top of the garlic and cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Allow the garlic to cool before you handle it.

Roasted garlic is also great for spreading on toast or crackers. However you choose to eat garlic, it’s beneficial to your health. How else will you keep the vampires away?

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