Garlic is great in all of its many forms but, like most plant parts, it is at its absolute best when roasted. Roasting garlic mellows its pungency and tempers its aggressive bite, but it also intensifies its sweetness and creates new, deeper flavours through that lovely little Maillard reaction. It's also a freaking cinch to make.
Honestly, the hardest part of making roasted garlic is remembering to put it in the oven 45 minutes before you wish to consume it. Once you've mastered that, all you have to do is:
- Preheat your oven to 205C.
- Grab a head of garlic and remove the loose, outer papery bits.
- Slice about 1cm off of the top of the head to expose the cloves.
- Place the head in a centre of a piece of foil, and drizzle a few teaspoons of oil on the exposed cloves, tapping the head on the counter to get the oil down in the crevices.
- Wrap the garlic in the foil, pop it in the oven, and wait.
Start checking on the garlic after about 40 minutes, and remove it from the oven once it looks dark and golden, and the middle cloves are soft (poke it with a knife to check). Remove your prize from the oven, let it cool a bit, then squeeze out a clove or seven and spread them on a piece of good - or even not so good - bread. Roasted garlic is obviously great when spread on carbs, but don't be afraid to blend it into soups and dips, mash it into potatoes, or serve the cloves whole with some sort of protein. Roasted garlic will stay good in the fridge for a couple of weeks, but I've never had a head last the evening.
This is part of The Grown-Up Kitchen, Lifehacker's series designed to answer your most basic culinary questions and fill in any gaps that may be missing in your home chef education.