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BackstoryRoasting garlic is easy. Start with the freshest and firmest garlic bulbs you can find. Avoid bulbs with little green sprouts peeking out of the top. They tend to give a bitter flavor to the garlic. Roasted garlic carmelizes into a golden color and develops a sweet flavor with a soft, creamy texture.
Once the roasted garlic has cooled, give a little squeeze and the cloves will pop right out. Or, use your fingers and start pushing the cloves out from the base of the bulb, moving your fingers up all the way to the top. The smooshed garlic will have a paste-like consistency, ready to be added to a dish to give it a delightful and delicious flavor. Mash the cloves with a fork to make a very smooth paste.
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pull away any of the loose papery skin around the outside of the garlic bulb, leaving the skins of the individual garlic intact. Using a sharp knife, cut off ¼-inch of the top of the bulb, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.
- Place the garlic heads on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle each head of garlic with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, spreading it with your fingers so that each clove is covered with oil. Allow the oil time to seep down in between each clove. Wrap the foil tightly around the garlic.
- If you’re roasting more than one head at a time, you can wrap each individually and set them in muffin tins. Or, just wrap them all up in one piece of foil and set the package in a shallow baking dish.
- Bake for about 35 minutes or until garlic feels soft when squeezed carefully with an oven mitt or heatproof pad.Remove garlic from oven and unwrap. The exposed tops of garlic cloves will be golden brown. When it is cool enough to touch, use your fingers to squeeze the garlic “paste” out of the skins. One head of garlic, depending on the size, will yield 2 to 4 tablespoons of roasted garlic paste.Eat as is or mash with a fork and use for cooking.
- It is hard to have too much roasted garlic around. You can roast the little bits from the tips of the garlic heads. Put them in a separate small baking container, such as an individual custard cup. Season with salt and pepper, douse with olive oil, cover, and place in the oven to bake along with the whole garlic heads. Depending on their size, they will be soft and browned in about half the time needed for the whole heads. The little pieces make a good “cook’s snack” while preparing dinner.
- Take advantage of times the oven is hot. As you’re roasting your beef or pork, add wrapped garlic bulbs to the oven. Just take the garlic out of the oven when it feels soft.
- I like to add a sprig of fresh rosemary on top of the clove before I put on the oil. You can thow away the sprig or crush it up with the garlic paste.
- Ways to use roasted garlic:
- Offer the roasted cloves in one small dish and a high-quality extra virgin olive oil in another. Diners can dip the bread in olive oil, and then smear a clove of garlic on it.
- Mix in to mashed potatoes.
- Spread over warm French bread.
- Mix with sour cream for a topping for baked potatoes.
- Add it to your homemade soup.
- Mix with sautéed spinach.
- Mix one head of roasted garlic “paste” with ½ cup mayonnaise and spread on bread for roast beef or pork sandwiches.
- For a lovely appetizer, whip goat’s cheese with enough heavy cream to make a spreadable cheese. On a platter, arrange whole head of warm roasted garlic, spreadable goat’s cheese and slices of crusty bread. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary.
- Blend with butter and spread on thick slices of crusty bread.
- Tuck roasted cloves into hamburgers before grilling.
- Roasted garlic can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks in a tightly sealed glass bowl or zip-top bag. Extend the usefulness of roasted garlic by freezing it for up to six months. Pack the garlic “paste” into freezer-strength zip-top bags. Press each bag nice and flat so they will stack neatly, and then put the bags into the freezer. The next time you need a hit of sweet garlic flavor, pull a bag from the freezer and place it in a bowl of warm water. It will thaw in about 20 minutes.