Roasted garlic is one of those things that seems to have some undeserved mystique about it. The mystique about the flavor is well-founded. It is deliciously soft and smooth and wonderful. But any mystique about its preparation is not. Set aside half an hour or so and know that you can roast garlic ahead of time, then cool it, bag it, and store it in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
For each head of garlic, cut the tips off to open up the cloves. So if you don’t grow garlic, you may wonder “What are the tips?” The opposite of the root end! Basically, the cloves grow up into a point and the green shoots rise up out of the ground from the pointy end. So the tips you want to cut off come to a point. (And if you haven’t grown garlic, try it! It’s so easy! Where I live, in the SF bay area, we plant towards the end of October and harvest towards the end of June. Each year, I set aside my largest heads to replant so I basically haven’t bought garlic in however many years I’ve grown it. I’ve yet to run out before the next crop is ready.)
So preheat the oven to 375 and cut enough off the tips of the bulbs to expose most of the heads. Find a baking dish just large enough to fit all the heads you want to bake. Rub a bit of olive oil along the bottom of the dish and place the heads cut side up in there. Pour just a bit of olive oil across the top of each head. Bake 20-30 minutes, testing that the cloves are done by poking a toothpick into the exposed side. They should be soft.
Use in dishes like Potato Soup with Roast Garlic, use for a softer garlic bread, make a fantastic baked Brie appetizer by spreading some roast garlic, olive oil and pine nuts across the Brie, barbecue some fish with roast garlic and butter and lemon juice in a foil pan, mix in with some mashed potatoes, … The options are nearly endless!
What’s your favorite way to use roast garlic?