I have my friend Kristin Graves to thank for the inspiration to develop this Ratatouille with Smoked Black Garlic recipe. Kristin is the owner of Fifth Gen Gardens in Wetaskawin, Alberta. This year her Community-Supported Agriculture farm provided 80 families with freshly grown produce for 12 weeks. I think of her as a a Goddess with a very strong back!
Kristin was one of the subjects in the book Food Artisans of Alberta that I co-authored. So was her Dad, Richard Graves – for a different food enterprise.
Now, this daughter-father duo have joined forces to create a new Alberta food product. Kristin has been searching for a year-round source of income to allow her to stay on the farm full-time. She wanted a niche product and a few years ago discovered that she loved growing garlic. She’d heard of black garlic and decided to learn how to make it.
“Black garlic is made by a low consistent heat over a very long time period. It originally hails from China, I believe, and traditionally would take three months to make. We have a black garlic machine that helps speed up that process, but even so, it does take a number of weeks.”
The black garlic was cool but Kristin had an even better idea. She asked her Dad, “Do you think we could smoke this?” Richard just looked at her and said, “I can smoke anything.” So into his smoker it went.
In this 2020 season Kristin grew around 20,000 bulbs of garlic. .A big portion of this crop went towards seed for next year. She says, “It’s important to pick the highest grade, the biggest bulbs, the most uniform bulbs to generate better genes for the next crop.” After taking care of next year’s crop, Kristin says half of the remaining bulbs will be smoked black garlic, and the other half will be used for our numerous products – fresh culinary garlic, roasting jumbo bulbs and pickled garlic.
Smoked Black Garlic Inspiration
Kristin slipped a package of the Smoked Black Garlic in the mail to me over the summer. I smelled it, I looked, touched and tasted it. I didn’t quite know what I would do with it.
And then one day this fall, I was simmering a batch of Ratatouille and it hit me. This normally mellow dish could really use a flavour bomb. AND, I had just the blast needed in the form of Kristin and Richard Graves’ Smoked Black Garlic. I added it. It upped the flavour profile to nuclear mushroom cloud heights. Voila. My recipe for Ratatouille with Smoked Black Garlic was born. My friends and family love it and it’s even been back by popular demand.
Now, you can buy this Smoked Black Garlic too. Right here on the Fifth Gen Gardens Store. Kristin says it’s also great in cheese balls and in a tomato sandwich. She’s so clever.
I hope you’ll try it out. Let me know if you do.
Note: besides the gift of a $6.99 package of smoked black garlic from my friend, I received no other remuneration for this post. I wrote it because I want this young farmer to realize her dream. I hope you’ll buy some garlic and help her too. Thanks in advance.Print
Ratatouille with Smoked Black Garlic
Depth of flavour that a nuclear sub would have a hard time matching, that’s this Ratatouille with Smoked Black Garlic.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
- Category: Vegetables
- Method: simmering
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1 eggplant, chopped in bite size pieces
1 zucchini, chopped in bite size pieces
1 yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
2 (28 ounce – 796 mls) cans tomatoes
1 (13 ounce – 378 mls) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon hot paprika
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 – 3 cloves smoked black garlic, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil with the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat and add the onions and cook and stir them until translucent.
- Stir in the eggplant and add the rest of the olive oil to keep it from sticking. Follow with the zucchini and yellow bell pepper once the eggplant is browned and softened. Cook until the zucchini is soft and add the canned tomatoes and paste plus the oregano, thyme, basil, paprikas and smoked black garlic.
- Let the ratatouille simmer for 30 – 45 minutes then taste and season with salt and pepper before serving.
- Enjoy as a side with steak or fish. Ladle it over pasta. Add it to chilli or a cheese ball. We even love it with pirohy.
Keywords: Ratatouille with Smoked Black Garlic