You can never have enough garlic.
We cook with a lot of garlic in our house. Next to onions, garlic is the second most used ingredient excluding salt and pepper.
Garlic is used in so many of the recipes we prepare, we always have two or three heads on hand. From pasta sauces to stews to vegetable dishes we cook with garlic minced, smashed, chopped or left whole.
But there is another incredible way to use garlic in your dishes that is easy to do with a little planning ahead and that is roasting. When you roast garlic in a little olive oil with salt and pepper, it mellows out some and has a sweeter taste with the slightest hint of smokiness.
I absolutely love the taste and smell of minced garlic sautéed in a little olive oil, but roasted garlic offers you alternative ways of using it that you can’t do with sautéed garlic:
Spread it like butter on a piece of baguette
Make a garlic aioli for dipping vegetables
Add it to a vinaigrette
Whip it into mashed potatoes
Add some to your favorite Italian pasta sauces
Spoon a little into soup recipes
Substitute for butter on a baked potato
Use in your favorite hummus recipe
Dab a little on the back of your ears to keep vampires away
One Head or More
What method I use for roasting garlic depends on how many heads I’m going to roast and if I’m roasting anything else with them. For example, if I’m only going to roast one head of garlic, I’ll prep it and wrap it up in a piece of aluminum foil and roast it in a pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes.
If I’m going to roast several heads of garlic, I’ll cook them in a small roasting pan. The temperature of the oven also depends on if I’m cooking them separately or with something else.
If done separately, I’ll preheat and roast the garlic at 400°F for about 30 – 35 minutes but if I’m roasting a chicken or braising beef at 350°F, I’ll just roast the garlic a little longer.
I like to multitask my cooking as much as possible and this is where meal planning can really help. If you know you are going to need roasted garlic for a meal you are preparing on Friday and are roasting a chicken on Wednesday, why not throw in some garlic with the chicken so you don’t have to heat up your oven again? This is especially helpful during the summer on those hot days.
Freshly ground pepper
How To Prepare At Home
Prepping the Garlic
Start by removing any loose layers of skin from the whole head of garlic. Don't take too much off, you don't want the cloves breaking off.
With a sharp knife, carefully cut off the top 1/4 of the head so the cloves are exposed. You can toss the part you cut off and reserve the rest of the head.
If you are only roasting one or two garlic heads, tear off one or two sheets of aluminum foil, large enough to wrap the entire head of garlic. If you are roasting multiple heads of garlic, place the heads cut side up onto a small roasting pan or baking dish large enough to accommodate the number of heads you are roasting.
Drizzle a little olive oil onto each head and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. If you want to play around with some different flavors, you may want to experiment by adding a little minced rosemary or lemon zest to the seasoning. The number of options is huge.
Roast the Garlic
If you are using aluminum foil, tightly wrap the garlic head in foil and place directly onto the oven rack. This works great if you are roasting some other ingredient because the garlic takes up very little space.
You can even use this method when firing up the barbecue to grill vegetables or steaks or chicken. Depending on the temperature of the oven or grill, it should take about 40 - 45 minutes for the garlic to turn a golden brown the soften up.
If you are roasting a bunch of heads in a baking dish, place the pan into the oven uncovered and roast for 30 - 35 minutes until the garlic turns golden brown and the cloves become tender. If they are not softened up enough, just put the back into the oven for 5 - 10 minutes more.
After The Garlic Is Roasted
No matter what method you use to roast the garlic, let them cool down some after you remove them from the oven before handling. When they are cool enough to handle, unwrap from the aluminum foil or remove from the roasting pan and squeeze out the garlic from the bottom of each of the cloves with your fingers.
Yes, it's a little messy but please try to resist eating too much of the garlic while squeezing. The aroma from roasted garlic is so intoxicating you will have to use all your willpower to keep you from eating too much.
If you are roasting the garlic for a meal you are cooking that day, use what you need and store the rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If you don't have a recipe calling for roasted garlic later in the week, try substituting in any recipe calling for garlic or just spread some on a slice of Italian bread for a quick snack.
This is an easy cooking technique and if you do it while roasting something else, it really doesn't add that much time or effort to what you are cooking but it really makes a big difference.
Give it a try. I think you'll really enjoy the effort.
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