August 21, 2014 by Suzanne
If you’ve ever caramelized onions, you know that the process can take a great flavor and take it to another level where you’ll want to shout HALLELUJAH and tell all your friends about it. Garlic, which is in the same family as onions, can also be turned magically delicious through caramelization by roasting it, which happily, is much easier than caramelizing onions.
The process of roasting browns the naturally occurring sugars in the garlic and mellows and changes the flavors. Once it’s roasted, you can eat the cloves plain, use them as a spread, add them to dressings, use them in soups or stews, or anything else you can think of. It still tastes like garlic, but since roasting changes the flavors that can be overwhelming, you can get a rich garlic flavor without any bitterness.
Whole bulbs of garlic (as many as you want)
Preheat the oven to 400º F.
Remove the papery outer layer of the bulb. Each individual clove will still have its own outer layer, but remove as much of the excess as possible.
Lay the head of garlic on its side and slice off the top of the bulb, enough to expose the cloves. There will be cloves on the outside that don’t line up conveniently, so just cut the tip off each uncooperative clove individually.
Lay the clove, right side up, on a square of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, covering all the exposed cloves.
Fold the aluminum foil around the bulb, and place in a baking tray or dish.
Depending on the size of the bulbs, roast in the oven from anywhere between 35 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. I realize this is a very wishy-washy time frame, but sizes and conditions vary, so start low and check how things are coming along. The cloves will turn a light brown color when they’re done. If they’re still white, they’re not ready yet.
Let them cool down for about 15 minutes before trying to get the roasted cloves out. You can squish them out or open up the protective layer and get them out whole.
If you’re going to make roasted garlic, you may as well roast a few bulbs at a time. You can add an entire bulb to mashed potatoes or cauliflower, or to a stew. If you want to substitute roasted garlic for raw in recipes, you will end up using a much larger amount, but it’s well worth it.