So last night, I was cooking up some chicken tenders with my favorite, lemons and capers, but when I pulled them out of the oven to check on their progress I was greeted with this:
You’ll have to excuse the fuzzy, poorly lit photo because I grabbed my crummy point-and-shoot as soon as I saw that blue stuff sprinkled all over the chicken. And just what is the blue stuff? Well, that’s garlic. Why it turned bright blue, I had no idea. Actually, I freaked out a bit at first. I frantically checked over the kitchen for the source of the coloring. I checked my hands for ink stains, I made sure there weren’t any volatile chemicals lying around (actually, there are no volatile chemicals in my house at all, since I insist on biodegradable cleaning products, etc). I know that copper can turn foods blue or green, but I don’t own any copper pots or pans. Finally, when I couldn’t find any explanation I took to the internets.
It turns out that immature garlic contains sulfur compounds that can react with minute amounts of copper (including small amounts found in water), or acids that cause the blue/green coloration. So, the lemon juice and pickled capers in my dish were the culprits, coupled with the fact that the garlic I used was still a little purple, indicating it was very “young” garlic. The good news is that the reaction is completely safe and the garlic is still edible.
Blue Garlic Chicken
16oz boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1 large lemon
2 tsp capers
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves of young garlic (well, if you want your garlic to turn blue)
Pre-heat oven to 400F. In a skillet, heat oil on medium high until hot. Slice onion and add to pan to caramelize, about 10mins. Cover a 9×9 glass baking dish with the caramelized onions. Add chicken tenders to the skillet and brown on both sides, about 1-2mins each side. Add chicken to glass dish and squeeze lemon juice over the chicken. Slice lemon slices and lay on top. Sprinkle with garlic and capers. Bake for 15-2omins. If you’re lucky, your garlic will turn bright blue.
Dazzle your dinner guests! Impress your family!
BTW, the chicken turned out great. I served it on a bed of salad and the blue garlic had no ill effects.