Roasted garlic can be used as a snack on its own or as a cooking ingredient
Over the years I have learnt to like the flavour of roasted garlic more than the fresh one. Roasted garlic loses most of its pungency, which is replaced with a subtle, but deep and slightly caramel, almost sweet flavour. These days I keep at least 1 head of roasted garlic in my fridge as it is simply so easy to use as a cooking ingredient! It comes very handy when I want to add it to a casserole, stew, mashed potato, sauces or just to spread it on a piece of toast and eat with a crown of a tomato slice. (Yes, I do have a tomato “problem” too!)
It could not be easier to roast garlic and you don’t have to be a master baker to do a good job with roasting garlic.
After prepping the garlic heads I wrap them in an aluminium foil, place the wrapped garlic heads on the baking tray in to the preheated oven (180C /350F) and forget about them for about 40 min minutes. This is all it takes to transform a raw garlic head to a butter-soft gold, full of syrupy and almost sweet flavor.
Generally the popular garlic heads bought in the supermarket will take about 50 minutes to roast, but it is very easy to check how the garlic is doing in the oven and give it more time if necessary. It’s not a cake and will not collapse on you if taken out of the oven for a few minutes! You’ll be looking for a nice, slightly golden cloves and a soft, almost mushy texture (gently squeeze the garlic head through the oven glove to see whether it soften already) . You can keep it in the oven a bit longer if you want your roasted garlic head to deepen in colour. Don’t worry, you will not overcook it even if it stays in the oven extra 10-15 minutes. (I’d say it takes 40 minutes on average to roast a garlic head as it varies depending on the size and cultivation of your garlic head.)
When garlic is roasting the smell coming out of the oven is absolutely magical. I am always very tempted to squeeze a clove or two, while they are still nice and hot, and eat it right away on a piece of buttered baguette or toast with a pinch of salt. So good…try it for yourself!
Roasted garlic stores really well. It will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge (and this gives plenty of time to roast even more fresh garlic heads). You can freeze it too for 6-7 weeks.
- 1 garlic head
- 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
- Peel most of the outer garlic head wrappers and trim ¼ inch off the top of the garlic head.
- Place the garlic head (or heads) on a piece of aluminium foil big, enough to wrap it around the heads.
- Drizzle 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil over the exposed tops of the cloves and allow the olive oil to run down to the inner parts of the garlic head.
- Wrap the garlic head in the aluminium foil and place it on the baking tray, in the oven (trimmed top up).
- Bake for 40 minutes. (For deeper colour and flavour you can extend the roasting time to 50 minutes.)