Roasted Garlic is garlic that has been baked.
The taste of most types of garlic will mellow and get milder when baked. Some varieties of garlic will become almost sweet.
There are specific varieties of garlic that are highly rated for roasting. Some people prefer garlics from the softneck group of garlics for roasting. Some garlics, for instance, such as Chesnok Red, are known for holding both their shape and flavour when roasted. Sadly, many of the highly-rated roasting varieties will only be available to home gardeners, and the rest of us have to simply get on with the "generic" garlic sold at supermarkets.
Roasted garlic can be:
- used in sauces and purées;
- used by itself as a spread;
- added to mashed potatoes;
- added to butter to make a garlic butter.
You can buy special garlic roasters. Most of these are made of terra cotta.
There are several methods of Roasting Garlic that differ mainly in how the bulb is prepared:
- Cut the top-third off the garlic bulb and discard. Some people advise to peel the bulb; some say to leave it as is. Drizzle olive oil over the exposed surface of the bulb, and wrap it in tin foil. If you doing a lot at once, place them in a covered dish and cover (either with the dish's own cover or tin foil), or just make a big foil package. Roast about 40 minutes at 400 F (200 C) until the cut-surfaces of the exposed garlic cloves look as though they are darkening from caramelization. Let cool until it can be safely handled, then peel the bulb.
- Some people prefer instead to cut the bulbs in half horizontally through the centre and roast both halfs cut-side up.
- Some people peel the bulbs, remove the cloves, discard what's left of the bulb and then roast the cloves on their own, unpeeled and drizzled with olive oil. When roasting this way, try the oven at 300 F (150 C), and roast for 45 to 60 minutes.
Whichever method you are trying, aim to use about 2 tbsp of oil per pound of garlic being roasted. Some people sprinkle with herbs as well, such as sage, thyme or rosemary.
Check for doneness by squeezing one clove (careful, hot!) to see if it's soft. Squeeze the cloves out of their skins when cool enough to safely handle. Discard the roasted skins.
Store leftover roasted garlic with more olive oil on it in a covered container in the fridge and use within a few days.
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