You’ve probably noticed by now I really, really like to use garlic. If you like garlic as well, chances are you’re also fond of roasted garlic. What’s not to love, right? What the flavor does to certain dishes is nothing short of amazing. Try replacing raw garlic with roasted garlic next time you make a pasta sauce and see what happens. Or put some in a mac & cheese. Spread a little on crusty Italian bread slices, top with cheese, a little oregano and pop in the oven until the cheese has melted. Getting hungry just thinking about it :)
Now I don’t know about you, but since roasting garlic has a reasonably long oven time -especially with the current gas and electricity prices- I rather roast several bulbs at once. So occasionally I have a few bulbs left.
Go with the basics.
Just roast the bulbs as you’re used to. When you’ve never done it before; cut the top off to the expose the cloves, drizzle a little olive oil over them -make sure it touches each and every clove- and sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top. Cover with foil and bake at 400F (200c) for 45 minutes.
But did you know that -when you don’t use them all at once- you can easily freeze roasted garlic? A clever way to do this is by using ice cube trays. Mash/puree the garlic first, then ladle 1 tbsp (or tsp) at a time into the tray. That way you know exactly how much you use later on and just how much garlic a cube contains.
You can also freeze the cloves fully intact. This is how I do it. I put the roasted cloves in a container (or a ziploc bag), drizzle a little olive oil over them and put them in the freezer. The oil will take on the flavor of the garlic. Because I add oil I can also, optionally, add a little fresh rosemary, basil or sage. Just make sure the herbs, specifically soft herbs like basil, are fully covered with oil.
Well, it doesn’t take a very vivid imagination to think of what you can do with a roasted garlic (and herb) infused oil, now does it? :)
You can do this with mild olive oil as well as extra-virgin olive oil. I usually vary. See, top = extra, bottom = mild. Certain dishes just don’t benefit from the stronger extra virgin flavor. This way I always have both on hand.