The transformation of raw garlic to roasted garlic is simply amazing. It's only the addition of heat+time, but it is wonderful...there is a dramatic difference in taste and texture. Did I mention it's super simple? If you haven't roasted whole heads of garlic in the oven or on a grill before, you are missing out on another world of mellow, yummy garlic- much different than raw cloves.
Whenever I've got the hotbox fired up for longer than 45 min or so, I like to roast some garlic. Delicious multitasking. Sixty-five cents worth of alliums, drizzled with EVOO, seasoned with S&P. Wrap with a tiny square of aluminum foil. There's plenty of wiggle room for time and temp, roast until nicely golden brown and caramelized. If you're around 350F, allow about an hour. If the heat is up to 400, you should check the garlic about 35 minutes in. Middle ground is best, about 375 for 45 minutes. Let cool slightly and then squeeze out the little orbs of tastiness into a bowl. You'll likely have to pick out a piece or two of papery skin, but most of the cloves will pop out freely. The pic below shows a couple heads just before the oven.
Endless possibilities for this condiment- mashed potatoes would be fantastic. Mixed into a risotto is a great idea. Soups and stews would get a little punch of savory goodness. Like anchovies, a bit of roasted garlic adds a lovely depth to homemade salad dressings. Maybe you want to enjoy it the simplest way- spread a few cloves on a toasted baguette with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, buon appetito.
How are those Thanksgiving menu plans coming? Are you sticking to classic, time-honored recipes? Trying anything new this year? We're doing the usual, which is to keep the traditions and sprinkle in a try-out or two for a couple sides.