Warning: This will fill your home with the most maddening, irresistible, and mouth-watering aromas imaginable. We’re talking about whole heads of garlic roasted with olive oil until each individual clove is completely golden and butter-soft — perfect for spreading on a spare piece of baguette or mashing into a salad dressing. Perfect, really, for just about anything.
As far as near-magical transformations go, roasted garlic should get a standing ovation. Through the simple alchemy of hot oven heat, garlic starts off raw and crunchy and astringent, and it emerges soft and caramelized with a gentler flavor that borders on sweetness. It’s like night and day.
1 or more heads of garlic
Heat the oven to 400°F: Set a rack in the middle position.
Peel (most of) the paper off the garlic: Use your fingers to peel away all the loose, papery, outer layers around the head of garlic. Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.
Trim the top off the head of garlic: Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.
Drizzle with olive oil: Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves.
Wrap in foil and bake: Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
Begin checking the garlic: After 40 minutes, begin checking the garlic. The garlic is done when a center clove is completely soft when pierced with a paring knife. Even once soft, you can continue roasting until deeply golden for a more caramelized flavor — check the garlic every 10 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size of your garlic, the variety, and its age.
Use or store the garlic: Let the garlic cool slightly, and then serve. Press on the bottom of a clove to push it out of its paper. Roasted garlic can also be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.
Speedy roasted garlic trick: While less visually stunning, separating the head of garlic into individual cloves will make the cloves roast more quickly. Leave the cloves intact and covered with their paper skin, toss with olive oil, and roast in a foil packet until soft.
WAYS TO USE ROASTED GARLIC
· Spread on bread or crackers
· Mashed into salad dressing
· Mashed into hummus, baba ganoush, or other spreads
· Used in place of raw garlic in soups, casseroles, and sauces