Orange and Mint Caramelized Garlic Cloves on Just About Anything

Caramelized Garlic Cloves with Orange and Mint

Some chef somewhere probably said it first: a well chosen condiment (or relish, or salsa, et cetera) can elevate a recipe. If he or she didn’t say it, I bet they thought it. Because it’s true. However I’ve come to the conclusion that Caramelized Garlic Cloves with Orange and Mint is a condiment that can lift any dish. Any dish at all. Except maybe Chocolate Mousse. Or Banana Cream Pie. Or maybe… well, you get the idea. So I’ll just say that Caramelized Garlic Cloves with Orange and Mint is a condiment that can elevate any savory dish. I don’t want to be blamed for ruining some kid’s birthday cake.

Sweet treats aside, a remarkable all-purpose condiment can make a cook feel all-powerful. How is it that a single sweet/spicy/tangy/funky/rich/herbal/pungent all-of-the-above substance can taste equally good on charred meat, eggs any way you like them, and grilled vegetables? 

Well I don’t have the answer, but I can say that Caramelized Garlic Cloves with Orange and Mint scratches that spicy/sweet/vinegary itch that sometimes keeps me up at night. GREG

PS I first served these Caramelized Garlic Cloves with a simple roasted pork tenderloin. It was easy to see how the complex flavors were the perfect foil to lean protein. But when I next tasted it spooned over charred broccolini I really began to think about this condiment’s possibilities. Then I ate it as a topper for toast. It’s future was sealed as a truly all-purpose condiment.

Caramelized Garlic Cloves with Orange and Mint

Caramelized Garlic Cloves with Orange and Mint 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source Simplified from Yotam OttolenghiPublished
Caramelized Garlic Cloves with Orange and Mint


  • 1 orange
  • 5 ounce whole, peeled garlic cloves (about 1 cup)
  • water (as needed)
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice


Use a peeler to shave off wide strips of the orange skin, avoiding the white pith. Save the orange for another use and cut the orange strips crosswise into thin julienne. Set aside. 

Bring a small pan of water to a boil, add the garlic cloves, and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and repeat the boiling and blanching process once more with fresh water. Drain and dry the cloves.

Heat the olive oil into a 10-inch non-stick or cast iron skillet. Add the blanched garlic cloves and fry on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 3 or 4 minutes until uniformly caramelized to a nice golden color. Remove from heat for a minute or two and then add sugar, vinegar, ½‑cup water, and salt. Be careful as it may splatter.

Return the mixture the stove and allow it to come to a boil then lower the heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and immediately stir in the crushed red pepper flakes, mint, lemon juice, and orange strips. Serve warm or at room temperature.