How to Make Roasted Garlic
Years ago I fell in love with "focaccia con cambozola" - a flatbread at Cucina Cucina that is served with roasted garlic and cambozola cheese. For a long time, I would drive by and wonder what that Heavenly smell was. It was the garlic. It was love at first bite and though I had been skeptical of garlic's illness fighting abilities, that was the first winter I didn't get a single cold. Those were my college days, so I irresponsibly went there once a week with my friends to indulge myself. Mmmm ... Either it really does fight colds or no one would get close enough to me to get me sick.
Anyway, there came a time when money was scarce, but I really craved roasted garlic. I had no idea how to make it and when my husband and I were living in our first apartment in Puyallup (well, our first apartment we lived in without a roommate), we went to the fair and this one booth was selling various garlic products including a "garlic roaster" - a ceramic, garlic-shaped dish made especially for roasting or storing garlic. I was so excited and it came with instructions! If I could just get Cucina Cucina's focaccia bread recipe, I would have it made, so I had to improvise. It's really not a true focaccia bread - more like a lightly seasoned thin pizza crust.
This is how you roast a head of garlic:
1. Cut off the top (the pointy part) to expose the cloves
2. Spread butter on top
3. Drizzle with a little olive oil
4. Place in a cold oven in a covered dish (I tried covering a small dish with foil and poking a couple small holes in it and that worked great)
5. Turn oven to 300 degrees and set timer for 45 minutes
6. Uncover and baste with olive oil
7. Cook uncovered for 9 minutes (9 is what works in my oven - the directions said 10, but that gave me overdone, bitter garlic)
8. Baste again and cook another 9 minutes
9. Baste again and cook another 9 minutes.
At this point, some of the cloves will usually start to emerge out of the skin. Wait until it's cool enough and you can either scoop the soft cloves out with a butter knife or turn it upside down and squeeze it. That's fun, but it gets your hands all oily. It took me a while to perfect this process, but it has been awesome for putting in potatoes, sauces, even guacamole, hummus, and especially for spreading on a yummy bread of your choice. I like to put it on some warm french bread with some butter, sprinkle on a little fresh parmesan cheese, and dip it in a combination of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I just had some tonight and I will probably reek for the next few days. It's worth it! My brother roasts whole garlic cloves by sauteeing them in a pan, but I haven't mastered the art yet. I'll let you know when I do. I like the fact that you don't waste any of the head, but it involves peeling all of the cloves. It takes less time, but I am in my comfort zone with the oven roasting method and I like the aroma while it's cooking. You do have to plan ahead.
I hope these directions are helpful to someone! :) One more tip - for spreading on bread, mash the garlic with a fork while it's still warm.