Tuesday, August 12, 2008

roasting garlic

This is so easy and lends itself to so many dishes. On Sunday's I usually roast about 8-10 heads of garlic. I love this stuff almost as much as tomatoes. I whack off the top 1/3 of the garlic head, take off any loose paper skin that is coming off anyway and drizzle a little olive oil on the exposed garlic cloves and a sprinkle of S&P. Wrap tightly in foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. I do a bunch at a time, so 1 head may take only 30 mins. The best way to check if they are done, is by using a potholder, squeeze the little packet. If it is soft, it's done. I let the finished garlic sit on the counter for about 10 mins, unwrapped and then squeeze the delicate pulp into a bowl. From here the uses are endless.

If you can not think of a recipe using roasted garlic, freeze it in ice cube trays and then in a ziploc when completely frozen. Now, you can pull out 1 or 2 cubes as necessary depending on what you are cooking. But let me give you some ideas for quick uses....

bruschetta with roasted garlic and tomatoes

2 or 4 slices of a good country bread or sour dough, about 1/2 inch thick
1 teaspoon of roasted garlic for each piece
1 teaspoon of olive oil for each piece
1 cup of chopped tomatoes, or 4 slices of a great tomato
fresh basil thinly sliced, 1 teaspoon for each slice

Brush the bread with 1/2 of the olive oil. Grill or toast the bread until golden brown. If grilling, brush the remaining half of oil and turn over to grill the other side. If toasting, take bread out of oven and brush the other side with the oil.

Spread the hot bread with the roasted garlic, top with tomatoes, S&P to taste and finish with basil. This is the perfect starter to any meal this summer, or fall for that matter.

*Roasted garlic salad dressing: add 1 to 2 tablespoons to your favorite vinaigrette

**Roasted garlic cream sauce: add 1 to 2 tablespoons to any cream sauce and pour this over pasta. I like to add peas, prosciutto and a little Parmesan cheese.

***Pasta with tomatoes and garlic: Pan roast cherry tomatoes in a little olive oil over medium heat until they are soft and barely bursting, add roasted garlic 1 or 2 tablespoons depending on how much you are making, stir to combine and toss with hot pasta and a little more olive oil. Top with fresh sliced basil and a quick grating of Parmesan cheese.


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