Butter-soft Roasted Garlic

February 18, 2012 § 3 Comments

What do you do when you have garlic that is a little bit past it’s prime?  Roast it.  I get bulk loads of organic garlic delivered every two months or so with my weekly CSA order.  I usually get about 30 little bulbs (not the big guys you get at most grocery stores).  While you can keep garlic for up to a year in a cool and dry space, it doesn’t stay super fresh for longer than six weeks in my kitchen.  So I roast it when I see the cloves growing little sprout hearts.  Roasting “new” garlic works just as well or better, but I thought I’d share my technique using my last few aging bulbs.
When fresh and warm, this roasted garlic is soft and spreadable – like butter. You can spread it on toasted bread, make garlic bread with it, top a pizza, or use it as a building-block for other recipes, like roasted garlic aioli or other sauces. An old roommate showed me how to roast garlic in the oven. I developed the foil nest and toaster oven method described herein.

Butter-soft Roasted Garlic

1 garlic bulb
1 T olive oil

Remove tray from toaster oven and preheat to 350 degrees (or, preheat conventional oven to 350 degrees and use a cookie sheet).

Cut the pointy end of the garlic bulb off, opening and exposing as many cloves of possible but being careful not to waste too much of the bulb. Alternatively, if you have a small bulb of garlic, you can cut the bulb in half (one pointy half, one rounded bulby half). That’s what I did with my little organic bulbs.

Tear off a sheet of foil that is roughly 6-8 inches from the roll and place on the toaster oven try (or cookie sheet). Place garlic in the middle of the sheet of foil, with exposed side up. Scrunch the foil around the garlic to create a nest (see below), with the goal of the garlic being upright and the exposed cut parallel with the counter or work surface.

Drizzle approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil over and into the exposed cloves. I like to drizzle liberally, until the cloves are saturated (but oil remains within the skin of the garlic bulb), so I often just eyeball and probably use almost a tablespoon per “nest.”  You can salt the garlic bulbs now as I have, salt later when they’re finished, or omit salt altogether.

Place tray in oven and loosely tent with foil. Roast garlic for approximately 30 minutes, remove foil, and roast for another 15 minutes (for a total of 45 minutes of roasting). To test, squeeze garlic bulb gently, and if the cloves easily pop out and are as soft as butter, you have properly butter-soft roasted garlic. If the cloves are still firm, return to oven for 5 minute increments until done.

Transfer roasted bulbs to a plate. You can serve as is for a naturally delicious spread, or pop cloves into a little bowl and mash with a fork. I like to spread the tender cloves on crusty bread (homemade bread? Even better). Roasted garlic can be kept up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge if to be used as seasoning for other recipes.  I tend to eat half a bulb when freshly roasting, popping those warm tasty cloves like candy.

Happy roasting,


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