The gumption of the first person who warily bit into a clove from a roasted head of garlic ranks almost up there with the nerve it took for the first person to taste a raw oyster. In recent years, a legion of fearless folks have tried it; they like the vegetable's subtle (yes, garlic can be subtle!), buttery mellowness, and have turned it into a trendy item. So how do you roast garlic, and, more importantly, what do you do with it once you've roasted it?
- 1 medium head garlic
- 2 tsp. olive oil
1. Peel away the dry outer leaves of skin from the head of the garlic. Leave skins of cloves intact. Cut off the pointed top portion (about 1/4 inch) with a knife, leaving the bulb intact but exposing the individual cloves.
2. Place garlic head, cut side up, in a small baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake, covered, in a 400 degree F oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until cloves feel soft when pressed.
3. Use the soft garlic paste warm or cooled. If serving warm, such as for a bread spread, use the tip of a knife to remove the paste from each clove. If using the paste as a seasoning, remove the cooled garlic paste from the head by cutting off its stem end. Use your fingers to squeeze the paste from each clove into a small bowl; discard the skins. Mash the garlic paste with a fork until smooth.
4. Roast several bulbs at a time to have on hand for seasoning. Freeze the paste in ice cube trays or wrap small portions in heavy plastic wrap; put into freezer bags and freeze. Thaw to use. Or, refrigerate the paste in an airtight container or wrapped in heavy plastic for up to one week.
- Serve warm as an appetizer spread for French or Italian bread.
- Mix with a little olive oil and toss with hot cooked pasta and Parmesan cheese.
- Add a tablespoon or two to hot potatoes when mashing.
- Stir into mayonnaise or cooked salad dressing; use for salads such as chicken and potato.
- Blend into oil and vinegar for a tossed-salad dressing.
- Add to cream soups such as potato or onion.
- Combine with softened margarine or butter and use to baste chicken or turkey.
- Stir into cooked rice or other grain pilaf.
- Add to white sauce and serve over steamed vegetables or broiled fish.
- Combine with sour cream as a baked-potato topping.
- Stir into melted margarine or butter; brush onto corn on the cob, drizzle over baked fish, or use as a dipping sauce for lobster.
- Mix a clove or two into biscuit or bread dough and bake as usual.