Q: How do you make roasted garlic?
A: Some friends of mine recently asked me this question when we went out to dinner and they were really surprised at how simple the answer is. Roasted garlic shows up on a lot of menus and seems like it would be really complicated to make but it's actually very easy to prepare at home. It’s extremely versatile and once you know how to make it, it’s a simple and healthy way to add depth of flavor to a wide variety of dishes.
Roasting garlic involves cooking garlic in the oven until it is softened and creamy. When it’s done, you can squeeze the garlic from the cloves almost like squeezing toothpaste from a tube. As it roasts, the garlic starts to caramelize and it develops a rich, slightly sweet flavor. The pungent flavor of raw garlic mellows and becomes almost nutty. If you have any friends who say they don’t like the strong flavor of garlic, have them try this.
It’s the ultimate flavor enhancer and imparts a rich, garlicky taste without the sharp bite of raw garlic. And it's packed with antioxidants so it's good for you too! For a delicious treat, you can simply spread it on a piece of toasted bread. Or try some of these other uses for roasted garlic:
- Use it in pasta- try stirring it into your favorite pasta sauce or macaroni and cheese, or simply toss cooked pasta with roasted garlic, olive oil and parmesan
- Stir it into mashed potatoes or toss whole cloves with sauteed vegetables like string beans or spinach
- Mix it into burgers or meatloaf for a flavor boost
- Use it to make a savory compound butter
- Puree it into salad dressings, dips or marinades
- Mash it into a paste with olive oil, lemon and herbs and spread it on top of steak, poultry or fish
- Use it as a topping for pizza