What is cooking without garlic? Here's how to roast whole heads of fresh garlic. The intensity of garlic flavor depends on how you prepare it. The more finely you mince it the more its presence will be known.
When roasting, use fresh, hard garlic heads, with no bruises or sprouts. Use roasted garlic anywhere you would use raw or sautéed garlic. Spread on warm, toasted bread, potatoes, vegetables. Also great on sandwiches, burgers and in hot pasta with butter or olive oil
4-6 whole heads of garlic
About 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 400º F. Line a small baking dish with aluminum foil.
Remove any loose, papery skins from the garlic heads. Do not separate the cloves. Cut about 1/4-inch off of the top of each garlic head and place in the baking dish, cut side up.
Drizzle oil over all and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the water around the heads and cover the dish with more foil.
Bake the garlic heads until very tender, about 35-45 minutes. Let cool slightly and either squeeze the soft flesh out of each clove or squeeze the whole head until all the garlic is removed.
To roast one head of garlic: Drizzle head with oil, wrap in foil and bake as above
Roasted Garlic Thyme Butter
Makes 1-1/4 cups
A different way to prepare garlic bread. Compound butter can be made up to a week in advance
Roasted Garlic Recipe (above) using 1-2 small heads of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil as needed
1 cup (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely minced
Kosher salt, to taste (omit if using salted butter)
French bread, crusty or other hard rolls or croissants
With a fork, mash cooled garlic cloves until fairly smooth (a little olive oil may help this process). Add the garlic to the softened butter and mix until smooth and creamy. Add the thyme and a pinch of salt. Blend well. Taste and add more salt if needed.
FOR DINNER PARTY SERVICE: Mold all or some of the softened garlic butter into a decorative serving bowl. Allow to firm for about at least 30 minutes, but allow to slightly soften before using. Toast bread to desired crispness and serve with butter.
ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Put a large sheet of aluminum foil on your work surface. Spoon the butter down the center of the foil into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Enclose in foil and twist the ends to make a sealed log, like a Tootsie Roll. Refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months.