What is elephant garlic and what to do with it


‘over-extended leek with garlic tendencies’

The Garlic Farm on The Isle of Wight



Elephant garlic is not a true garlic but in fact a type of garden leek – its scientific name being (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum). However, it looks just like garlic – only much bigger, about six or seven times the size – and it tastes very like garlic, only milder.

Normal garlic, when roasted slowly for a long time, loses its hot pungency and can be eaten almost like a normal vegetable (vis chicken with forty cloves of garlic). Elephant garlic is the same… with an even softer and milder taste.

After slow, low cooking it becomes soft and fragrant – serve the cloves with baked potatoes in jackets for people to squeeze out flesh and mix with the potato flesh and lots of butter

Especially good with white fish and all kinds of of poultry.

It grows happily along the Cornish coast, and looks beautiful with tall, mauve-coloured flowers, like giant chives, during early midsummer.


Recipe for cooking elephant garlic

The best way of cooking it is as follows:


Allow three or four elephant garlic cloves per person

  1. Cut each clove in half around its fat middle, don’t peel.
  2. bend over so the two cut surfaces are facing up in a flat small ovenproof container in a wrapping of foil
  3. Pour over the exposed raw surfaces some olive oil, some Indonesian long pepper and the salt (I use pommes frites salz… but any interesting salt would be good… a smoky one for example)
  4. Put in a 210°C oven and roast for about 1 hour – then lower temp to 180°C and roast another 30 mins.


Roasted elephant garlic
Roasted elephant garlic


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Thank you! Excellent description. Today my curiosity got the best of me and I got elephant garlic instead of regular garlic and I wasn’t sure if I could use it the same way. I’m making menudo and frijoles charros and I loved the ease of skinning the elephant garlic. I licked one cut piece and notices a sweeter flavor, less “punch in the face” yet, still delicious. I used more than I would have of regular garlic and still ended up using a couple of cloves of the regular stuff. So far so good! Thanks for the information and the recipe. Love from Texas!

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