alcohol | chilies | french | garlic | herbs | peppers | pickling | rosemary | vegetables | white wine

Ail je ne sais quoi; or “garlic I don’t know what.”

July 22, 2014

French pickled garlic with herbes de provence.

Garlic. The most potent flavor packed into the teeniest package nature could possibly create.

It’s amazing isn’t it? The things you can do with garlic. The possibilities are endless. Roast it, sauté it, bake it, slice it, crush it, mince it, puree it, whatever it. Clearly, the only thing I can’t do with garlic is write a decent blog post about it. No, really. I have no idea what to write about this. True story.

Usually I just blabber so much I have to stop myself before I write a novel, but for this post- nothin’. Its not that I have something against garlic- I don’t, I love garlic. But I just really have no idea what to say. So with that in mind… I’ll just make up a story. Pretend you’re at your summer house in Provence. Yeah, that Provence (in France). It’s a warm summer day & you’re hosting an outdoor dinner party this evening.

(You still with me?)

As you set the big outdoor farmhouse table with candles and mismatched antique dinnerware you contemplate the meal. For dinner you’ll be serving a variety of artisan, homemade breads, some fancy cheeses, and charcuterie. With plenty of wine, too, of course. And if you’re smart: this garlic.

French pickled garlic.

PICKLED FRENCH GARLIC (adapted from Epicurious who got it from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich)


  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 small red dried chile, sliced thinly
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 7-8 whole peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried herbes de provence (or just a sprinkling of a mixture of dried marjoram/lavender/tarragon/crushed fennel seed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or pickling salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole garlic cloves, skins removed


  1. Put all of the ingredients except the garlic into a nonreactive saucepan. Bring the contents to a boil, and gently boil them for 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Return the contents to a boil, then cover the pan, and remove it from the heat. Let it stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
  2. Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil again, then transfer them to a half-pint jar. Let the jar cool, and cover it tightly with a nonreactive cap.
  3. Store the jar in the refrigerator. The garlic will be ready to eat in about 5 days, and will keep well for about 1 year.

French pickled garlic made with white wine vinegar, white wine, rosemary & herbs de provence.

Suggestions for use: Remove the cloves from the vinegar & mix with oil to serve as an appetizer, slice them and serve with a charcuterie platter, use in a Bloody Mary, substitute for olives in martinis, serve as part of a pickle platter, or eat them right out of the jar.
SOUNDTRACK: Edith Piaf – “La Foule”
Sources & credits: Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagioni jar, available at Sur La table.
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