I’ve been reading a lot about olive oil lately and in particular how high heat destroys it both nutritionally and taste-wise. I must admit that my mother and grandmother never fried with olive oil, preferring seed-oils instead and their higher heat tolerance. Olive oil was used in salads and added to a dish as it cooked, but never for browning and pan frying. I guess they knew a thing or two.
Since we rarely use any seed oils in our house, everything is cooked either in olive oil or pure butter. But what I’ve been reading and remembering from my family gives me some pause. So yesterday I tried a totally different technique of my own fabrication (although I’m sure I’m not the only one doing it). I was inspired in part by the movie Goodfellas and the scene where the garlic is being shaved with a razor blade so that it will literally melt into the sauce.
I was preparing my slightly adapted version of Kalofagas recipe for Garlic Makaronia with Mostra but rather than saute the garlic and other ingredients as usual, I put the oil in the pan, added the shaved garlic, cherry tomatoes, hot pepper flakes, and fresh parsley, and then set the element to very low, i.e. #2 on the ten-setting dial. I left it there for an hour, stirring only occasionally. Holy Garlic Heads Batman! The end result was a chunky sauce unlike anything I’ve ever had. The ingredients had infused the oil with so much aroma and flavor that my taste buds could barely believe it…every bite was a new and unearthly sensual experience. You’ve got to try this method!