how-to: roast garlic

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One of the worst food crimes I ever committed was purchasing a jar of prepared roasted garlic.  The taste was so bad that for years I wrinkled my nose at any food or recipe  that contained roasted garlic.   I was doomed to forever associate how it should taste with that awful store-bought jar.   Which really would have been a shame.   Thankfully I got a taste of what true roasted garlic should taste like and also learned how easy it is to make at home.

If you like garlic sautéed and mixed into soups, stews and sauces, you will love it even more in its roasted form.  Roasting garlic gives it a nice heady aroma but mellows out it’s flavor so that you can actually eat it as is with no further preparation.  It becomes so mild and soft that the  roasted cloves can be turned into a spread and eaten with only a slice of crusty bread to accompany.  You can mix roasted garlic into pasta sauce to give your spaghetti and meatballs a bump in flavor.  It also goes well mixed into mashed potatoes, rubbed onto a cooked steak even mixed into vinaigrettes.  The possibilities are endless. 

So don’t be like me and deprive yourself of this wonderful taste any longer, grab some garlic and roast it today.

A few things: I only roasted one head of garlic because that’s all I needed.  I could have easily packed 2 or 3 more heads into my dish and roasted a bunch and stored the leftovers in a jar in the fridge.   If you don’t have a shallow dish, no worries, you can wrap individual heads in foil and roast on a baking sheet. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Have handy a small oven proof shallow baking dish or aluminum foil is fine.  You will need one or more heads of garlic, with any loose skin peeled away, but leave the head whole and intact, olive oil and kosher salt. 

 Carefully chop off 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves.  The top is the part without the root.  Do this with all the heads if you use more than one.  If you are using the baking dish, put the head of garlic in it and drizzle with olive oil ( a few tablespoons), sprinkle with a little kosher salt and cover the entire dish tightly with foil.  If you use foil-have a piece large enough to wrap one head, place the garlic on the foil, drizzle with the oil and kosher salt, then wrap the head up by gathering the foil sides together and twisting to make a long twist it will be easier to open this way and the oil will not spill out. Wrap all heads this way if you are doing more than one and place on a baking sheet.

 

Set the baking dish (or baking sheet with the foil wrapped garlic) into the preheated oven and cook about 35-40 minutes.  Remove the garlic from the oven, it should be nicely browned and soft, let cool before you squeeze out the flesh.  Use immediately or put into air tight container(cover with more oil) and store in fridge up to a week.

 

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