Sunday, March 22, 2009

Roasted Garlic

I grow a lot of garlic and enjoy using it in a variety of ways.  This is one of my favorites.  My wife and I first came across roasted garlic as an appetizer during a roof-top dinner at a local restaurant a few years ago and knew right away that this was something we would enjoy forever.  Roasting both softens the cloves and mellows the flavor of the garlic.  It comes out a little darker than raw garlic but melt in your mouth delicious.  It is so easy to prepare and always a hit when we make it for ourselves, our family, or our friends.  All it takes is a nice head of garlic, a dab of olive oil and a covered dish in which to cook it in your oven.  One head of roasted garlic serves 2-4 people.  Here's how I make it:
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Peel the outer layers of paper off the garlic bulb, leaving the skins of the individual cloves and one or two layers of paper intact.  Wash the bulb with fresh water (the dampness will help in cooking the garlic). Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual garlic cloves. The bits of garlic in the tops can be minced and placed in olive oil for later use, added to a recipe, or roasted with the base.
  • Place the garlic heads in a covered baking dish; a terra cotta covered dish is absolutely authentic but corning ware works OK, too.  Drizzle a little olive oil over each head.  Cover and bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes, or until the cloves are soft when pressed.
  • Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a cocktail fork, small knife or even your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.
  • Eat the roasted garlic as is (straight roasted garlic is fantastic), as a spread on bread or crackers.  At a party, leave the roasted heads on plates and let guests scoop out what they want.  Better make extra when you do this, because it will go fast.  Alternatively, mash the roasted garlic up with a fork and use it for cooking.  It can be frozen for later use.  Roasted garlic can also be used for a topping for baked potatoes, mixed in with pasta dishes, or added to soups.

This recipe is based on one found at

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