As I begin to prep a portion of my home garden for a fall planting, the surrounding summer items such as tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh beans continue to produce. And tiny cloves of garlic will surely make their way into my soil in the months to come.
This time of year is when I begin to source my favorite garlic varieties from our local farmers.
Most will be used in the kitchen to add that unique flavor to my food, but some will be set aside and eventually peeled, sectioned and planted for my own harvest. Once in the ground, the garlic takes eight months to reach full maturity, although some may be harvested in the spring to be enjoyed as a “green” garlic, where both the tops and petite green onion-like bulb are consumed.
Either way, garlic planting and harvest is much of a waiting game — one that is always worth the effort.
Used in salad dressings, marinades, roasted and sautéed vegetable dishes, pasta sauces, simmered with beans, and sometimes roasted whole until soft and then used as a spread over a toasted baguette round, garlic is a part of my daily culinary life.
Traditionally used both for its medicinal properties and as a flavoring agent, garlic has made an impact in food preparation around the globe.
With a lot of salsa and sauce making happening this time a year due to the abundance of fresh tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers, I always tend to add at least a couple of cloves of garlic to liven up the recipe. Fresh fish is also at the forefront in my house these days, with both cooked and raw preparations enjoyed at least twice a week.
This week I prepared a simple ceviche, using some fresh local halibut. Cured in fresh lemon or lime juice and essentially tossed in a pico de Gallo style salsa, ceviche is incredibly refreshing, healthy and delicious. You can feel free to substitute another type of fish if you’d like, such as local sea bass or rockfish.
Garlicky Halibut Ceviche
1/2 pound halibut filet, cut into small cubes
6-7 lemons of limes
2 cups tomatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, well minced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup bell pepper, seeds and membrane discarded, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and membrane discarded, diced (reduce amount or eliminate if heat sensitive)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste.
Place your fish in a shallow bowl. Juice your lemons or limes and pour over fish, just enough to submerge. Cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
In a mixing bowl, combine tomato, onion, bell and jalapeño pepper, and garlic, along with the juice from 1 juicy lemon or lime and toss. Then gently toss in cilantro and season liberally with salt and some pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until the fish is cured. Strain the juice from the fish and toss in the salsa mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy with chips, plain crunchy crackers or simply enjoy with a fork as is.
Yield: 4 servings.