You can never have enough roast garlic.
We cook with a lot of roasted garlic in our house. Next to onions, garlic is the second most used ingredient excluding salt and pepper.
Garlic is used in many 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: 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
My method for roasting garlic depends on how many heads I will 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, wrap it up in aluminum foil, and roast it in a preheated 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 oven temperature also depends on whether I cook 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 roast the garlic a little longer.
I like to multitask my cooking as much as possible; this is where meal planning can help. If you know you will need roasted garlic for a meal you are preparing on Friday and 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.
How to Roast Garlic
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
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 ¼ of the head so the cloves are exposed. Then, 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, try to experiment by adding a little minced rosemary or lemon zest to the seasoning. Again, the number of options is huge.
Roast the Garlic
- If you are using aluminum foil, tightly wrap the garlic head in foil and place it directly onto the oven rack. This works great when roasting another ingredient because the garlic takes up very little space.You can even use this method when firing up the barbecue to grill vegetables, 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 they 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 enough, just put them 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 after removing them from the oven before handling it. Then, when they are cool enough to handle, unwrap them from the aluminum foil or remove them from the roasting pan and squeeze out the garlic from the bottom of each clove with your fingers.Yes, it's messy, but please resist overeating the garlic while squeezing. The aroma of roasted garlic is so intoxicating you will have to use all your willpower to keep you from eating too much.
- Give it a try. I think you'll really enjoy the effort.
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