We just got home from a delightful weekend visiting my brother in Santa Cruz. One of the things I love about driving up north is passing through Gilroy and other California farm towns. When you open your windows in Gilroy, the strong, wonderful scent of garlic is in the air, and there are signs for fresh-picked garlic, strawberries and cherries about every 100 yards.
I was super excited to stop at one of the cute farm “markets” to get some of wonderful produce! My 5-year old said he wanted to get out of the car with me to choose something — he was sort of disappointed when he realized that this “market” didn’t sell toys or pastries. However, he got over it quickly when he tasted a gorgeous, bright red strawberry that had just come out of the ground. Yum! We bought a flat! My cute little guy also choose the biggest, most beautiful bag of garlic!
Roasted garlic is without question one of my favorite foods — it’s simply divine! And roasting also happens to be one of my favorite cooking techniques. I love slowly drawing out the natural sugars and flavors of foods. Delicious!
Roasting will often intensify flavors. For example, oven-roasted tomatoes will become incredibly sweet and rich. Interestingly, when you roast garlic, the flavor does the opposite — it mellows out! It goes from sharp and pungent to sweet, creamy and unbelievably aromatic. Roasted garlic is an ingredient in many recipes, and it’s also fantastic on its own, spread over crusty bread. It’s dreamy! (And please, don’t get me wrong, I also love the strong flavor of raw, biting garlic!)
Since its existence, garlic has offered dozens of health benefits, so many that it’s often called a “cure-all” food. Garlic Central is a great resource to learn more about why to love and eat lots of garlic!
And there’s another benefit of roasting garlic — the amazing aroma that will fill your home! This is, of course, great weekend cooking!
- 6 heads of garlic (about 3-ounces each)
- 3 tablespoons vermouth
- about ½ cup olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut approximately ¼-inch to ½-inch off the top of each head of garlic and save the removed portion. Place all of the garlic -- and the top portions -- face up on a large piece of heavy-duty foil or in a shallow, oven-proof ceramic pot fitted with a lid. Drizzle the vermouth and the olive oil evenly over the open cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Seal the foil tightly (or cover your ceramic pot) and place it on a baking sheet in the preheated oven.
- Roast until the garlic is super soft and will easily squeeze out of the skin, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Unwrap the foil (or uncover your pot) and let the garlic cool until it's comfortable to touch. Then squeeze the soft, creamy garlic out of its skin -- or, if you'd like to keep the cloves whole, use a paring knife to help you gently remove them.
I realize there are a few out there with an aversion to garlic (or perhaps to the somewhat "strong" breath it causes), but I think you might feel differently after you roast it! Give it a go!