These are perhaps one of the most under rated ways to cook any kind of allium and by that I am only referring to onions, garlic and leeks. Edible Allium only.
You need to think about getting these on 30 mins to an hour before you want them.
Don’t peel anything, don’t oil anything, you don’t need anything apart from perhaps some long tongs and dont forget about them so you find their carbonised but identifiable remains in the morning.
Don’t throw anything onto roaring hot coals, if they are glowing bright red, whatever you put on will pretty much burn. You want to cook in the embers. So still too hot to touch.
Onions can take more direct heat than a leek. So onions you can almost place in the fire. Some shops sell the ones the size of a small melon, one supermarket refers to them as cannonball onions.
- Onions, the larger they are you can probably forget about them for 40 mins. Maybe turning if the start to burn or move further away.
- Leeks place on the edge and maybe turn a couple of times during the cooking process.
You will lose a few of the outer layers, but that is fine because the rest will be worth the sacrifice.
- Garlic, place 5-10 cm away from the coals. Keep an eye and move them to the indirect part of the grill if they are too hot.
When onions are done, they will be charred, the middle may have popped out and they may start to collapse in on themselves. Once taken off the heat they will retain their heat for ages, when you are ready to serve, just slice in half lengthways and get bust with a spoon. It will be so sweet and smoky.
The leeks will become softer and flaccid, for want of a better word, when you pick them up with the tongs they will bend in the middle. Chop the top and bottom off and slice up the middle to discard the outer layers and dive in.
Garlic will go soft to the touch when it is ready. 2 ways to do the next bit.
Pull the entire bulb apart gently trying not to disturb each clove and then squeeze each clove onto your plate, onto bread and then into your mouth.
Or with a sharp knife and a tea towel or a gauntlet to protect your hand, slice horizontally across the middle. Spread a knob of butter, Get a teaspoon and get busy. They will have become sweet, slightly caramelised and slightly chewy. If they are like toffee, you have overdone them, less heat next time.