Unless you’re looking (or sniffing) for it, it’s easy to miss. From the freeway, it seems to be a modest city full of humble hotels, outstretched outlet malls, and a handful of plant nurseries with baby palms waving to slow-lane traffic. You’d never know Gilroy is the self-proclaimed garlic capital of the world.
At Sigona’s we source all our garlic from Gilroy. Locally grown garlic has a flavor that’s pungent, sweet, and uniquely intense, It’s also consistent. California’s climate and soil provide the perfect growing conditions for abundant yields and unmatched quality. Spotting good garlic is easy, one helpful hint is to look for a Christopher Ranch sticker. Christopher Ranch has been growing garlic in Gilroy since 1956 and offers the U.S’s only heirloom garlic varietal. Use your senses too. Give the garlic a gentle squeeze. The bulb should feel firm and not hollow. Take a sniff. Whole intact bulbs should have little to no smell. Check for sprouting. A sprout or two indicates the bulb is old.
Today’s science confirms what many cultures have known for centuries: garlic is good for you. Besides being delicious, garlic can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Trying to kick a cold? Adding a clove or two to your meals can speed up recovery time. Garlic supplements are now widely available too. But garlic does much more than sit in your medicine cabinet. It’s also one of the most universally used vegetables.
“This is a hard question,” says Paul Sigona. “Italians use garlic for everything!” Paul has many go-to garlic recipes. Some pay homage to his Sicilian heritage. Others highlight locally grown fruits and vegetables, that showcase his decades of produce experience. After some gentle nudging, he gave his answer: sauteed artichoke hearts. It’s a simple and delicious recipe perfectly pairing two of his local favorites, Gilroy garlic and Castroville artichokes.
Making this recipe at home? Don’t forget to tag us in your recipe photos on Facebook and Instagram at @SigonasHome
Cooking time: 15 Minutes
Yield: 2 Servings
What you’ll need:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
6 artichoke hearts, patted dry
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
First, you’ll need cooked artichoke hearts. (For help choosing and cooking artichokes, check out this recent blog. Add olive oil and garlic to a skillet and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add your artichoke hearts, salt, and pepper. Stir until golden. Remove from heat.
Add lemon juice, chopped parsley, and enjoy!
If you want to experiment, try adding black truffles, basil, cilantro, thyme, tarragon, sage, chili peppers, mushrooms, radicchio, or sundried tomatoes.