Roasted Garlic Heads

Lovely Heads of roasted garlic

Garlic!  While living in Gilroy, California my appreciation for this member of the onion family exploded, and I have always been a huge fan.  We lived right across the road from a field of garlic grown by Don Christopher, of Christopher Ranch.  In the early spring, as irrigation got under way, the air was filled with the aroma of fresh, green garlic.  That fragrance became much more pungent in late summer as it was harvested, and processed at a nearby plant.  (Some days it was smelled like I had cloves of the stuff up my nose, really!)  The changes in flavor that occur in garlic from exposure to heat are considerable.  Cooking over low to moderate heat mellows and sweetens the flavor, but high heat can cause it to become bitter and inedible.  I love roasting heads of garlic and using the resulting soft paste in all kinds of dishes.  Mixed with olive oil and Parmesan and spread on crostini for toasting in the oven, stirred into a vegetable saute, or added to a sauce, the applications are endless!  Best of all, a number of heads can be roasted at once, some of it refrigerated and the rest frozen, so it is on hand and ready for use whenever inspiration strikes!  Here is the easy method I use to roast garlic. 

4 heads of garlic

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.

Use a serrated knife to cut the tops of the garlic off, exposing the tops of all of the cloves.  Place in a small glass baking dish, cut-side up.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over each head of garlic, allowing it to soak down inside the head.  Wrap the entire dish with aluminum foil, taking care not to let the foil touch the garlic (tent the top of the foil a bit).

Place the garlic in the oven and roast for about an hour, or until all of the cloves are golden, very tender and beginning to protrude from the skin.

Remove from the oven.  Allow to cool. 

To store, squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins into a container.  I refrigerate some for use within a few days, a freeze the rest to use later

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