Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer or spread
Slowly roasting whole heads of garlic with savory herbs transforms the strong flavor of raw garlic into a caramelized and pungent sweetness, says Lucinda Hutson, herb gardener and cookbook author in Austin, Texas. Slip the roasted cloves out of their skins and pop them right into your mouth or smear them on crusty baguette croutons, warm whole wheat tortillas, or peasant bread. For a change of pace, mix them with chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, fragrant herbs, and cream cheese for a delectable spread. Roasted garlic cloves are also an aromatic addition to baked or mashed potatoes, sautéed vegetables, pasta, or sauces and salad dressings.
• 6 large heads garlic
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• Sea salt
• Coarsely ground black pepper
• 1–2 dried cayenne or japonés peppers, freshly ground
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, rosemary, or savory, or use your favorite combination
• 3 tablespoon sherry or tequila anejo (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove the loose papery skins from the garlic heads and cut off just enough of the top to expose the individual cloves; prick the cloves lightly with a fork. Place the garlic heads in a small baking dish. Drizzle them with some of the oil, then sprinkle with salt, peppers, and dried herbs, and invert them.
2. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and turn the garlic right side up, adding more oil, salt, peppers, or herbs if desired and the optional sherry or tequila. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until the garlic is soft and slightly caramelized, uncovering it for the final 10 minutes.
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