Requirement: Must love garlic.
This is one of the more versatile condiments to have on hand. It can outlast the sprouting fresh garlic in your pantry and is at the ready for marinades, dips and sauces and as a spread for any savory sandwich. Its flavor will mellow only slightly over several weeks.
If you have access to a high-powered, commercial-grade food processor, the paste will turn out even fluffier and lighter than if you use a standard food processor.
Make Ahead: The garlic paste can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Combine the garlic cloves and salt in a food processor. Puree until as smooth as possible, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl as needed.
With the motor running (for the next 4 steps), gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the oil in the thinnest possible stream; do not rush the process or the mixture will separate. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
Gradually add 1/2 cup more of the oil in the same manner; the mixture should begin to set up a bit, with the consistency of creamy cooked grits.
Gradually add the lemon juice. The mixture will become lighter and whiter.
Add 1/2 cup more of the oil in the same gradual fashion as before, then slowly add the water. The mixture will loosen but should not be runny.
Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of oil. The resulting garlic paste should be creamy white and fluffy, like beaten egg whites. If not, keep the motor running and add more oil to achieve the right color and consistency.
Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid; seal and refrigerate for a few hours before using, and up to 3 weeks
Reprinted with permission from The Washington Post. Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick. From Joseph Chemali, chef-owner of Shemali's Cafe and Market in Northwest Washington.
"[Side dishes] have to be quite dramatic," says Australian author Donna Hay. "They're like the good supporting actors in their roles."