Dear Garlic and Onions: Mellow Out
Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we’re sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: Chill out. And get your alliums to do the same.
As much as we value alliums as a base for all we do, their bite is easy to resent and difficult to forget: An errant fleck of raw onion or garlic at lunch will stay with you all day, and have you dreaming of dental hygiene products.
There are ways, though, to soften the bite of onions and garlic without cooking them — so you can take advantage of their crunch and freshness without offending your palate or scaring off dinner guests. Here’s how:
To mellow garlic:
- Boil it in water or milk for about five minutes, or
- Zap it in the microwave for a couple of minutes — according to Cook’s Illustrated, both of these techniques deactivate the compound in garlic that causes sharpness.
To mellow onions:
- To retain their crunch, soak your onions in water for at least 10 minutes.
- To soften them and bring out a bit of sweetness, sprinkle them with a generous amount of salt, making sure to coat each piece well. Rinse off the salt before adding your onions to salads or sandwiches.
- It will change your onions’ flavor, but soaking them briefly in a bit of vinegar will soften them, both in taste and texture — think of it as an abridged quick pickle.