Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Roasting Garlic

We have a new member of our household–no, not a bouncing baby, but a tall and adorable 24 year old cousin named Nichole, who is working at local Ralston Farm for the upcoming season. Ralston Farm is also our CSA, so it’s a happy melding of family and vegetables. One of the many benefits of having a 24 year old in the house—besides introducing your children to songs like THIS ONE—is that she comes home after a day of sorting seeds and mending chicken coops with gifts. Like the big bushel of garlic she brought us this week. What to do with about 20 heads of garlic? There are plenty of options but we decided to roast them all!

I followed a recipe form The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters:
Peel off all the papery outer layers but leave the heads intact. Place all of them in a baking dish that allows them to fit snugly in one layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and add some thyme sprigs or a few peppercorns. Fill the dish with about 1/4 inch of water, then cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast at 375 for about 20 minutes or until the cloves are tender (you can gently squeeze one to check). Uncover the dish, drizzle the heads with more olive oil, and roast without the foil for another 7 minutes. You can then squeeze the garlic right out of the cloves to use however you’d like.

We added all of our cloves into a long Weck jar and then covered them with about 1 inch of olive oil to preserve them in the fridge and use them later for things like: mixing with warm pasta or stir fried rice, chopping and adding to a vinaigrette, or basically adding it to anything you like garlic in. I like to slather mine on toast.

I take a thick slice of good bread, toast it, and then while the bread is still warm, spread the garlic on top like it’s butter. You can eat it like this, sort of like a rustic version of garlic bread, or…

For a snack I added a sliced hard boiled egg (poached would be wonderful as well, placing the poached egg on top of the garlic bread and then both on a bed of arugula dressed with a mustardy vinaigrette for a delicious winter salad). I like to cook my eggs at a simmer for only 8 minutes so the yolk is a little soft in the middle, never chalky. Slice the egg, place it on top of the garlic, sprinkle with fleur de sel. Maybe a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar, if you have it, but it’s not necessary.

Perfection. I would eat this for breakfast, lunch, I’d even serve it at a dinner party. So if you can get your hands on a young farmer or a bushel of garlic, then consider dedicating a little time to roasting the whole lot. It will keep the vampires away and it’s an easy antidote to the winter blues.

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