Roasting garlic transforms it from spicy, sharp, and pungent to sweet and smokey. The garlic loses its hard texture and becomes creamy and smooth. There are lots of ways to achieve this, but our preferred method is this simple roasted garlic recipe.
Preheat the oven to bake at 400°F (205°C). Using a sharp knife, carefully cut through the top 5mm (1/4″) of the upper side of a whole garlic bulb. This is the flat side, opposite the root end. This cut should expose all of the largest cloves in the bulb. Be sure to keep the parts trimmed off for other purposes. Rub the whole top and all the exposed edges of the bulb with olive oil, and place the bulb in an oven-safe ramekin. Season with (optional) sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover the ramekin loosely with aluminum foil, ideally so that the foil is not in contact with the cut bulb.
Now bake this for 30 to 35 minutes. After that time, remove the foil and poke the garlic with a fork or the tip of a knife. It should be completely smooth and tender, offering no resistance. If it still seems firm, pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes and check again. Large garlic bulbs may take up to 45 minutes to roast completely. Don’t be surprised if the cooked cloves swell and eject themselves out of the bulb.
Allow the roasted garlic to cool completely, and simply squeeze the contents out into a dish. Technically, roasted garlic will store for a few days if wrapped in plastic and refrigerated, but the flavour is best shortly after roasting.
Enjoy the roasted garlic with pasta, in salad dressing, on pizza or blended with mayonnaise to make a sort of aioli. Hardcore garlic lovers will enjoy roasted garlic just spread on crackers or toast.
The photo above shows a whole roasted bulb of Music garlic.