Garlic, one of the basic ingredients of Mediterranean cooking, is appreciated worldwide for the flavour it adds to the most simple and elaborate dishes. Few recipes can do without garlic!

Many recipes use garlic as a main ingredient rather than just a condiment.

Featured below are some recipes from the book by Antoine THIBOUMÉRY: ‘L’ail’ (Éditions Aubanel), with the kind permission of the author.

Photography of garlic and spicies on cutting board
© Unsplash : Zahrin Lukman

Recipes with garlic

+ Garlic bread

A fast and easy recipe…

  • 1 baguette
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Take a nice fresh crispy baguette. Cut it in half. Rub with a raw garlic clove. Drizzle with first cold pressed virgin olive oil and add the sliced tomato. Close.

And enjoy one of the tastiest sandwiches ever!

+ Aïoli

A traditional recipe…

To prepare Aioli you will need: a mortar and a pestle, a hand mixer or food processor. Ingredients should be taken out of the fridge and left at room temperature for a few hours before preparing the recipe.

For 30 cl of Aioli

  • 4 garlic cloves cut in slices
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 30 cl olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch white pepper

Mix garlic and salt in a bowl. Add egg yolk. Mix ingredients until you obtain a perfectly consistent mixture. Add olive oil one drop at a time and whisk into the garlic-salt-egg mixture with the hand mixer or food processor.

As the oil blends in, the mayonnaise will begin to thicken. At this stage, you can begin pouring in the oil in a thin, steady trickle. Go on whisking until you obtain a thick creamy mayonnaise. Add lemon juice and white pepper.

If the mayonnaise begins to curdle, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of boiling water and whisk vigorously. If this fails, don’t despair. You can still solve the problem. Simply put a fresh yolk into a clean basin, and add the curdled mixture to that, drop by drop. Prepare the Aioli well in advance for a more pronounced garlic flavour.

Garlic mayonnaise or Aioli is a traditional recipe from Provence. Aioli is easy to make and keeps in the fridge for up to a week. Aioli can be used as a dressing for raw and cooked vegetables, salads, cold meat, sandwiches and more elaborate dishes.

+ Garlic soup

A classic…

Serves 4:

  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 1,5 l water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 4 slices of toasted or stale bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 60 g grated Gruyère
  • 4 eggs

Peel and place 11 out of the 12 garlic cloves in a large casserole with the fresh sage leaves. Add water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil then leave to simmer for 15 minutes on a low flame. Remove sage leaves. Remove the 11 garlic cloves, crush and re-add to the mixture. Add a pinch of saffron, cover casserole with lid and leave to cook on a low flame.

Rub the slices of bread with the remaining garlic clove, drizzle with olive oil and top with grated cheese. Toast slices in the grill till the cheese starts melting. Before serving the soup very hot with the toasted bread, prepare poached eggs. Break eggs into a bowl and gently tip into a casserole of simmering water, leave to cook for 4 minutes.

Tips for serving: place a slice of toasted bread in a soup plate, pour in the garlic soup and top with a poached egg. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

This is one of the oldest recipes for garlic. Garlic soup was considered a fortifying dish. In his book ‘Port-Tarascon’, the French author Alphonse Daudet, tells how ill people would get better after eating just two or three bowls of garlic soup!

+ Tourin garlic soup

Good value for money…

  • 2 l water
  • 1 spoon of goose or duck fat
  • 1 handful of Lomagne garlic cloves
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • Salt, pepper and vinegar

Bring water to a boil. Melt the goose or duck fat in a frying pan, add garlic cloves and fry till lightly brown. Add to boiling water. Add salt and pepper and leave to boil for 15 minutes.

Before serving, break eggs and separate white from yolk. Add egg white to soup. Stir. Whisk egg yolk with a bit of vinegar. Add to soup and mix. Add a few thick slices of bread and some croutons to the mixture. Cover with a lid and leave to simmer for a few minutes.

Serve in a warm plate or bowl.

+ Tuna escalope marinated in sweet and sour garlic sauce

A subtly flavoured dish…

  • 2 garlic heads from la Drôme
  • 400 g of thinly sliced tuna escalope
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 1 thinly sliced pepper

Wash garlic and boil in water. Repeat this process five times! Peel away outer skin and mash cloves through a sieve. Add a dash of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Before serving, add 2 spoons full of mayonnaise to the mixture.

Fry shallot with a bit of chopped garlic in olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and 5 tablespoons of soy sauce. Leave to simmer for 3 minutes. Lay out the slices of tuna in a plate. Coat with marinade (leave to cool down first) and leave to settle in the fridge for 12 hours.

Dish out a spoon full of garlic puree and top with the slices of tuna. Coat the fish with the remaining marinade. Add 1 spoon olive oil and one spoon peanut oil, chopped chives, pepper and cucumber.

+ Ail sous la cendre

A fun recipe…

  • 1 large garlic head
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 10 Cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Pick a nice large garlic head. Cut in half (widthwise). Sprinkle each half with a few sprigs of thyme and some cumin seeds. Drizzle with olive oil.

Wrap both halves in aluminium foil and put to bake in an oven or open fireplace. Do not leave to bake on one side for too long. Turn over. Remove once garlic is nice and tender.

Serve warm, alone or as a side dish with meat. For example: roast chicken or lamb served with potatoes.

Legend has it that on Midsummer night, peasants in Provence would burn garlic heads to keep evil at bay.

+ Pasta and garlic

A typical Italian recipe…

  • 150 g of spaghetti
  • 4 slices of stale or toasted crustless bread
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Cook spaghetti in a casserole of boiling water. Crumble bread into small pieces. Wash the chili pepper, cut in half, remove seeds, and cut into thin slices. Peel and slice garlic.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add the crumbled bread when the oil starts to simmer. Brown the bread, and add the chili pepper and the garlic. Quick fry.

Drain spaghetti and mix with the fried bread and garlic. Add salt and pepper. This cheap and delicious recipe can be served as a side dish with meat, grilled pork chops, or salad.

+ Roasted garlic “en chemise”

A treat for your taste buds…

This recipe is a real treat for gourmets! Place ten whole garlic cloves (do not peel) in a cooking tray with a chicken, and roast in the oven. Roasting garlic cloves in this way turns them into a rich tasty puree which melts in the mouth.

However this recipe requires a few precautions. Do not put the garlic to roast in the oven for the same length of time as the chicken, as this would burn the garlic cloves.

Put garlic cloves to cook in a casserole of boiling water first. Leave to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and empty the water from the casserole. Repeat this process until the garlic is almost cooked. Prick with the point of a knife to check if the garlic is ready. This entire process should be repeated at least four to five times. When ready lay out the garlic cloves in the cooking tray with the chicken and leave to roast till brown and crispy.

More garlic recipes are available on the following websites: Au féminin.comépicuriens de Belgique and l’Ail Rose de Lautrec.