Having trouble peeling garlic? Cut off the root end and, using the side of your knife, squash the clove slightly. The peel will slip off easily. Does your garlic go bad before you’ve used the entire head? Peel the cloves, put them into a clean jar and cover with olive oil. As a bonus, you get garlic-flavored olive oil. Don’t have a garlic press? Peel the garlic, sprinkle with salt, chop it up a bit and then, using the side of your knife, squash and scrape the garlic along the cutting board. Chop, squash and scrape until the garlic is pulverized. A mortar and pestle makes this job even easier. Worried about garlic on your breath? Too bad, this month’s recipes are not for you. We move beyond the clove of garlic as an invaluable addition to soups, stews, stocks, sauces, vegetables, salads and meats into the world of mega-garlic.

16 cloves of garlic (1 head)
2 quarts of water
salt and pepper
2 cloves
1/2 bay leaf
4 sprigs parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 egg yolks
3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
hard toasted French bread
1 cup grated Swiss or parmesan cheese

Drop the cloves of garlic into boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain, rinse with cold water and peel. Put the garlic, water, salt, pepper, cloves, bay leaf, parsley and olive oil into a pan. Boil slowly for 30 minutes. Taste for seasonings. Beat the egg yolk with a whisk in a serving bowl or tureen until they are thick and sticky. Beat in the olive oil, drop by drop, as if you were making mayonnaise. Just before serving, beat a ladleful of soup into the egg mixture. Gradually strain in the rest of the soup, beating the soup and pressing juices out of the garlic. Serve with the toasted bread and cheese. This soup is also very nice with a poached egg in each bowl, and is adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck.

Reprinted from In Helen’s Kitchen: A Philosophy of Food, by Helen Hudson Whiting, with the permission of Regulator Books.