Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

I’ve been finding amazing garlic at our farmer’s market, the skin thin and tight around the cloves, the cloves clustering around the hard core. (Why is only soft core garlic available in grocery stores?)  Garlic that is visibly juicy when you cut into it.  Garlic whose germ is small and white.  When I find garlic like this, I like to feature it, whether in tomato water pasta (this is a fabulous technique if you’ve got tons of tomatoes), plentiful and barely cooked; in a Caesar dressing, cooked only by the lemon juice; or minced and tossed with asparagus and olive oil then grilled.

We did this last night at a friend’s, a boy’s night out, overlooking the Chragrin River Valley, humid-hazy as the sun set, playing with fire.  And a dinner consisting of nothing more than steak, asparagus, and red wine.  Mince two cloves of juicy fresh garlic, combine it with a quarter cup of olive oil and a pound or so of asparagus, salt it, toss it well to distribute the garlic.  Spread hot coals over half your grill, sear your steaks on both sides, move them to the cool side of the grill, and dump your asparagus on the grill over direct heat.  Cover the grill to cook the asparagus and to finish the steaks.  I didn’t have a basket last night so had to be careful not to let them fall through the cracks.  Only lost one.  We took the steaks off and let them rest while we finished the asparagus.  Everything went straight from the grill to individual plates.  You could do the same with green beans as well.  Finish with lemon juice and zest.  A perfect meal.

If you’re in Cleveland next week, don’t forget about the second annual garlic festival at Shaker Square.  Last year, I found the best garlic ever.

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