Black garlic seems to be the "IT" ingredient of the moment. It was originally a food supplement used in Japan and Korea where it goes through a fermentation process which vastly increases its antioxident values. It has an extremely mild flavor-even more tamed than roasted garlic-really more of an after taste of sweet garlic. It is slightly sweet and has an under flavor of licorice, which I intensified by adding the fennel bulb and tarragon. For the past couple of years it has been showing up in the trendy restaurants of San Francisco and spreading from there. Of course, once a trend hits the Mid-West it is usually Passe on the coasts already.
2 pounds mussels, cleaned and scrubbed
1/4 cup minced shallot
1 head of black garlic cloves, sliced
1 fresh fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Fresh tarragon, chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped
Choose a pan that is large enough to hold the mussels whitout crowding them. It should be wide and shallow, but deep enough so the mussels can open without obstruction when you place a lid on the pan.
Heat the butter and oil and saute the shallot and garlic until they are soft. Add the wine and cream, salt and pepper. Add the mussels and scatter the herbs over them. Place the lid on the pan and bring the liquid to the boil. Cook only until the mussels open-no longer, or the mussels will shrink and become tough.
Serve with lots of crusty bread to sop up the juices.