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Chef Hopes Black Garlic Will Strike Gold

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In Texas, black gold has long referred to oil, but one local chef launched his own edible version of black gold.

texas black goldStephen Paprocki, executive chef at NuStar and an active member of the Chefs Cooperatives initiative, has introduced Texas Black Gold Garlic to the public.

What exactly is black garlic? The company’s website offers the following explanation:

While the origin of Black Garlic remains an enigma, in Asia, the naturally caramelized form of the bulb is a culinary delicacy that has also been used as an ingredient in Asian medicine for years. Black Garlic is growing steadily in popularity in the U.S. for its opulently layered flavor profile and for its potential health benefits.

Studies have shown black garlic is high in antioxidents as well as anti-inflammatory agents.

As for Paprocki’s history with it, the chef explains it this way: “I’ve been making it for about 8 months now for institutional use here at NuStar. Chef friends have been asking me to make it for them (Chris Cook, Jeff White and Tyler Horstmann), and they finally talked me into starting a company on the side to sell it.” 

Planting garlic beds for Texas Black Gold Garlic.

Planting garlic beds for Texas Black Gold Garlic.

How is it made? Texas Black Gold Garlic’s website offers the following explanation:

Once harvested, locally grown garlic bulbs are heated or “fermented” from one to two months at a constant warm temperature that causes certain enzymes and sugars in the cloves to break down naturally – nothing is added. The cloves inside the paper-thin white skins first turn a deep brown and once the process is complete, a soft black. The texture of the cloves changes, too – from shiny, firm, white meat to black, soft, sweet, spreadable cloves. The process also causes the strong flavor of the raw white garlic to melt into a mellow, sweet and addictive essence, ready to be used straight from the bulb or cooked into other dishes.

In order to live up to the Texas name, all of the garlic used comes from the Lone Star State. That means a somewhat limited quantity, Paprocki says, but he has Mesquite Field Farms growing bulbs especially for him and he’s in talks with other local farmers to bolster his supply.

In the meantime, he’s had to get all the legal paperwork for launching a business settled, get his website ready to take orders and get businesses to sell the product. On Black Friday weekend, you’ll be able to pick up Texas Black Gold Garlic at GauchoGourmet, 935 Isom Road.

So, perhaps the most important question is: What do you do with black garlic?

The website suggests using it in everything from salads to appetizers, entrees to desserts. “I use it in sauces, deserts, marinades, jam, spreads and, hands down, best black garlic butter wings!” Paprocki says.

Texas Black Gold Garlic is vegan and gluten-free. A serving of 5 to 6 cloves has about 40 calories and 9 grams of carbohydrates, but no cholesterol or sodium. Prices start at $4.95 for 2 ounces. To order, click here.

Five percent of sales will go to support Chefs Cooperatives efforts.

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