Two weeks ago I bought about twelve heads of garlic, intending to roast them in olive oil at the same time as some of the batches of tomatoes I'd been doing, but I didn't get to them until today.
Usually I peel some of the outer papery layers off and then old the head of garlic on its side and cut in half about midway between the stem end and the tip. Today I mangled the first one and decided to try something different. So I just broke apart the garlic heads and put them all in a foil-lined cake pan.
Then I drizzled a good amount of olive oil over the garlic cloves and stirred them around so all were well coated.
Then I covered them with a sheet of foil, tucked the edges from the bottom sheets of foil up around the edges of the top layer, to tuck all the garlic in nice and snug, and popped them into a 300 degree oven (alongside three more pans of tomatoes! It's our best tomato year ever) for about an hour or so.
To be honest, I didn't time them. I never do, really. I go by smell and by touch. Periodically I'd take the pan out and press on the bigger garlic cloves to see if they were squishy yet. It might have taken longer – and of course oven temperatures can vary as well, so – use the squish test for best results. You want 'em squishy.
When they're ready, take the pan out and let them cool until you are comfortable handling them. The aroma – if you love the smell of roasted garlic – and if you don't, you're probably not going to do any of this – but like I was saying – the aroma is swoon-inducing. If you've been in the kitchen the whole time, you might not realize just how deliciously garlicy this will smell, so go outside for a few minutes, pick some tomatoes, water a plant or something, and THEN go inside and take a good inhale. Like I said – swoon-inducing.
What you want to do next is get a little bowl or container for the garlic, and another bowl for the papery parts. Set the pan and these two bowls near your sink, because your fingers will get very oily during this process and the papery bits will stick to you annoyingly, so you'll want to be able to rinse often.
Next – you take one of the heads of garlic and hold it over the keeper bowl and squeeze the roasted garlic out. Now – a couple of tips here. I've found that it's best (if the papery part hasn't split already) to hold the clove with the stem end (the little flat end) down and the outer, rounded, convex side of the garlc toward you. The garlic tends to squirt out at the bottom, and if the paper is going to split on the side anywhere, it seems to do that on the concave side. At least, that's what happened tonight when I was doing it. And I have the oil-splashed tee shirt to prove it.
The papery part goes in the other bowl (the slop bowl is what I call it), and every so often you'll notice the paper sticking to your fingers, so you'll want to run your hands under the water from time to time.
When you're done, you'll have a bowl of soft, golden-brown, roasted garlic that glistens with olive oil.
Voila! Now, if you have time (I didn't tonight – I'd done enough for one night), you can dump all this into a food processer or blender and start pureeing it, drizzling olive oil in if needed to make a thick paste. Then you could divvy it up into some small containers, freeze all but one, and keep that remaining one in the fridge. Use a spoonful here and there – in a pasta sauce, smeared on bread, on your oatmeal…okay, I haven't tried that one, but who knows, it might be really good.
Oooh – this is really good – get a baguette, slice it into about 1/2 inch thick rounds, lay the slices out on a sheet pan and put them in a 400 degree oven for about ten minutes. Flip them over and put them in for another ten. While they're baking, take some of your roasted garlic and whisk it in a bowl with some more olive oil, and maybe some salt and pepper. When your little slices are dried out a bit, spread some of this garlicy oil mixture on each one and put them back in the oven for another five minutes or so.
And then, just to drive yourself right over the edge, serve these garlicy baguettes with a slice of room temperature brie and maybe some apple slices or grapes on the side.
Or skip the fruit, and don't invite anyone over, and just eat the whole thing yourself!!!
Just kidding, of course!
I'd never do something like that, and I'm sure you wouldn't either.