Rich caramelised Black G garlic from Fawk Foods enriches stir-fries, risotto and even dessert.
WHO Chef Frank Fawkner began experimenting with black garlic more than five years ago, when he headed up the kitchen at Muse Restaurant in the Hunter Valley. "We made a black garlic and olive oil butter that was very popular," he says, "but the garlic was so expensive that I started making it in-house." Fawkner became so addicted to the process that in March he launched Fawk Foods, a company specialising in bulbs of black garlic and ready-made black garlic paste.
HOW Fawkner sources young dried bulbs from farms in Victoria and New South Wales, and slow-roasts them over five to six weeks at his restaurant, EXP. The temperature is kept between 60°C and 90°C so that the flesh slowly begins to caramelise "much like steaks do when they're seared", he says. Many producers use beer to expedite the caramelisation, but Fawkner prefers to draw out the process to add a greater depth of flavour, leaving the bulbs to caramelise in their own sugar.
WHY The garlic's balsamic-like sweetness, soy and umami characteristics lend themselves to a range of dishes, says Fawkner. "We use it in our frozen mousse at the restaurant. The flavour goes really well with dark chocolate." The chef also suggests replacing palm sugar with some chopped black garlic in stir-fries, or mixing the paste into your next risotto. "It's so versatile and adds another level to any dish."
Fawk Foods Black G Paste, $11 for 40gm; Black G bulbs, $14 for 100gm, fawkfoods.com