Homemade Basics: Whole Roasted Garlic
As unappealing as it may sound to anyone that has to kiss me on a regular basis, I admit to being a fairly enthusiastic fan of garlic. I may draw the line at kooky culinary experiments like garlic ice cream (in America, see California’s Gilroy Garlic Festival) and garlic beer (in Britain, see the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival), but otherwise I do enjoy partaking in a nice garlicky dish from time to time. When cooking for my Dad, in particular, I know I’ll be tossing in at least a clove or two – and his favorite way to enjoy his garlic is in its roasted form. Although there are numerous products on the market tailored toward garlic roasting (including the popular domed terracotta version), I personally think purchasing one of these products is a complete waste of money. All you need to prepare a perfectly roasted head of garlic is a rectangular piece of aluminum foil, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the garlic itself. It really couldn’t be more simple!
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Peel the outer layer of dry skin from the outside of the garlic head, but leave other layers and cloves intact (see photo above, left). Using a sharp knife, remove top quarter section of head and discard.
3. Place garlic head on an 8-inch square piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle head with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ensuring oil oozes into crevices between cloves. Rub with fingertips to aid absorption. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, if desired.
4. Wrap aluminum foil around garlic head, forming a cone-shaped packet. Place in a small oven-safe baking dish and bake for 40 minutes.
5. Remove from oven, carefully unwrap aluminum foil, and drizzle with an additional 1/2 to 1 tablespoon olive oil. Rewrap garlic in aluminum foil and return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
6. Remove from oven, carefully unwrap aluminum foil and allow to cool for 10 minutes. To remove garlic flesh from skins, squeeze from base.
Roasted garlic is soft, easily spreadable and has a considerably milder flavor than its raw or sauteed form. It is delicious served on warm bread, in soups, and in a variety of savory dishes. Enjoy, and keep some mouthwash close at hand – you’ll need it!!