Kitchen Basics: Roasted Garlic

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This is one of those ingredients that can catapult a dish from great to amazing. Garlic in its raw state is strong, extremely flavorful, and slightly acidic. And amazing for many dishes as we know. But when you roast the garlic, you transform that strong flavor into a more subdued, concentrated slightly nuty sweetness that is incredible on its own or as an ingredient to build an entire dish around.

Roasted garlic sounds complicated and strange. I mean, take a garlic head and look at it -- how the hell are you suppose to roast this thing? Well turns out it's stupidly easy. And a lot faster than you'd think. All you need is:
  • whole garlic heads
  • olive oil or vegetable oil
  • aluminum foil
Simply preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel off the outmost layers of the garlic.Then using a sharp knife, cut the top 1/4 inch off the head of the garlic, exposing the cloves.

Drizzle the tops of the exposed cloves with a little oil and cover with aluminum foil.

Place on baking sheet and roast in oven 30-35 minutes until garlic is very tender. Let stand to cool until easily picked up by your hand. Now you have roasted garlic!

At this point, you can squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves and into an air-tight container. The roasted garlic will keep up to 2 weeks this way for you to use as an ingredient for other dishes. If using immediately, go ahead and scoop out how much you need. You can also pick up the entire head and squeeze out the garlic, or use a fork to help you.

You can serve the roasted garlic heads just as is as a dish on to itself. Simply sprinkle some course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper right on top and serve with thinly sliced toasted chiabatta slices.

Add some roasted garlic to your mashed potatoes, dips, purees, pasta dishes, or even soups or stews.

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