Friday, January 9, 2009

Roasted Garlic

The smell of garlic cooking in a kitchen. It's hard not to like it. It can be sharp, spicy, savory, creamy, or sweet and one can find a way to incorporate it into almost anything. Because garlic burns and becomes bitter when you cook it for more than a minute or two at high temperatures (like on a stovetop), my favorite way to make it is by roasting it at a low temperature for a long time. Cooking it like this brings out its buttery sweet flavor and it tuns soft, which means it'll practically melt when you use it.


1-3 heads of roasted garlic
1-2 tbsp olive oil per head of garlic
kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 375. Lay the head of garlic on it's side and slice across the top so that all the little cloves are now exposed. If the skin is still covering some of the outer cloves, you can pull it off with you fingers or carefully cut them open with a knife. In a small casserole dish, lay a piece of aluminum foil (about twice the length of the dish) and place the heads of garlic in the center. Drizzle the olive oil over the heads on the exposed cloves. The oil keeps the cloves from drying out while cooking. Sprinkle the heads with a little kosher salt and then close the foil over the heads. I pinch the top so that I can easily peek in the little packet and see how they're doing. Put the casserole dish in the oven and set a timer for 45 minutes. Check the garlic at 45 minutes. Open the foil packet and poke the larger cloves gently with a fork. If its done, it'll be really soft and light caramel in color. If its not, drizzle a little more oil, close the foil, and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Let cool and then squeeze the cloves out of the skins. Your hands will get a little greasy but they should pop out pretty easily. Grab yourself a hunk of crusty bread, spread and enjoy. It'll stay good in the fridge for a 7-10 days and freezes well.

Some of my favorite ways to use roasted garlic:
1) Top with olive oil and salt and spread onto crusty bread. It'll spread better than butter.
2) Cook some pasta. Cook a few ripe tomatoes on the stove for 3-4 minutes. Mash 1 or 2 heads with a fork, then whisk into a 1/2 cup of reserved pasta cooking water. Pour the garlic water and cooked tomatoes onto the pasta. Season with salt, pepper and fresh basil.
3) Use alone or mix with a little mayo for a sandwich spread (awesome with veggie paninis and turkey with gruyere and tomatoes).
4) Stir into soups.
5) Add to creamy sauces like alfredo, hollandaise, bearnaise etc.

All text and photographs © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley