Roasting garlic is one of my favorite ways to eat it. Roasting mellows the flavor and creates a smooth textured paste. Roasted Garlic is delicious on almost anything.
The first time I had roasted garlic was in an Italian restaurant in Destin, Fl. The waiter presented the table with a whole head of garlic, still warm from the oven. A slice had been removed from the top then it was drizzled with olive oil. The waiter squeezed the cloves from the papery covering and added more olive oil. Salt, a couple of cranks of the pepper grinder, and parmesan rounded out the topping for our soft Italian bread.
I was smitten.
Roasting garlic is easy.
Since that first experience, I knew I must do this at home. I even acquired a cast iron garlic roaster in the shape of a bulb of garlic with a flat bottom. This was touted as a tool to use on the grill or over a fire.
Sometimes I cut a slice from the top of the garlic head, drizzle it with olive oil and wrap the whole thing in foil. Roasting in the oven at 350º for about 35 minutes seems to do the trick. After it cools enough to handle but is still warm, follow the same plan our waiter in Destin did.
A note about roasting.
You don’t have to risk slicing your fingers trying to get the top cut off the whole head. Go ahead and separate the cloves, but leave them in the papery outer covering. I recommend you do this with several heads of garlic at once because you can never have too much roasted garlic.
Toss the cloves with a healthy amount of olive oil, then add another drizzle for good measure. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil with enough length to cover and seal over the top of the garlic. You are making a packet.
Bake at 350º for 35 minutes or until the aroma drives you crazy. If you aren’t sure the cloves are done, open the packet carefully to avoid a steam burn. Gently press on one of the cloves with a knife. If it gives easily, it is done. Otherwise bake another 5-10 minutes, until soft.
Once the garlic is roasted, allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Set a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl and force the garlic through with the back of a spoon. Discard the exterior paper casings of the cloves. You may need to scrape the bottom of the sieve with a rubber spatula to gather all that garlicky goodness. Add more olive oil as desired.
Now spread that roasted garlic and olive oil on everything.
This week, I put it on a homemade pizza. I always pre-bake my homemade pizza crust on a baking stone so it gets crispier. After pre-baking, I spread some of the roasted garlic/olive oil mixture over the crust, then topped with pizza sauce. On this occasion, I added sliced green olives, tablespoonfuls of cream cheese, and a parmesan/romano/asiago cheese blend. Then back into the oven to finish baking. You can use whatever toppings or cheeses inspire you.
No matter the toppings, the addition of roasted garlic makes this pizza extra delicious.
Let us know how you enjoy garlic.