I love garlic. I also love onions, scallions, shallots and leeks. But I truly love garlic. Perhaps it was due to the types of food I ate when I was little. Grandma cooked with a lot of garlic. Once we moved to the States Mom cooked with lots of garlic, too. During my elementary and high school years we took a lot of road trips. Dad loved to drive, so when summer arrived he would drive us all over the United States. One of our family’s favorite road trip meals that Mom would make and pack for the long hours of riding in the car was garlic pork with white Jasmine rice.
Mom would take pork and cut it into bite size pieces. In her large clay baked mortar (which she brought over from Thailand) she would pound oodles and oodles of peeled garlic cloves, salt and pepper with her wooden pestle. Sometimes she would get me to do the pounding. We would work the ingredients into a paste, and then she would add the pork into the mortar and mix and pound, incorporating the sharp fragrant goodness into every pore of the pork. Once she was done she would heat her cast iron skillet with some oil and cook the pork in that. Simple but so delicious when eaten in the car as miles and miles of highway stretch on before us.
For dinner the other night I thought of garlic, but I didn’t have pork, and I don’t have a mortar and pestle. However, I had a pound of beautiful large Texas Gulf Shrimp. I also had some bright happy lemons and fresh angel hair pasta.
I began by seasoning the shrimp with salt and pepper and letting them rest while I diced several cloves of garlic until I had a lovely mound. Once the shrimp was ready I heated my skillet with olive oil, tossed in the garlic and soon afterwards the shrimp. I zested a lemon and added that into the pan with a dash more of salt and pepper. Within a few minutes the shrimp were bright and ready. I finished it with a squeeze of lemon juice.