Roasted garlic is the best! It’s a miraculous transformation of an ingredient that when raw can be harsh and spicy, but once roasted becomes a sweet, spreadable version of itself—offering a completely different flavor and texture.
Roasting garlic is an illustration of how the simplest techniques and ingredients can still be versatile and complex. So many cultures around the world routinely employ garlic in their cuisine, so knowing how to make and use roasted garlic can offer infinite opportunities for playing with your favorite recipes.
Roasting garlic takes a completely ordinary, everyday, universal ingredient and throws it on its head—in such a simple and straightforward way. Just when you thought you knew garlic, meet its roasted relative.
4 whole garlic heads
2 tablespoons olive oil
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Place the garlic heads on their side, so that the root and tip are horizontal to your cutting board. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut off the tops of the garlic heads, about ¼ inch from the tip, exposing the cloves but not so far down that they fall apart.
Place all the garlic heads cut side up in the center of a piece of aluminum foil large enough to contain them all. Drizzle the garlic heads with the olive oil and season them with the salt.
Bring the edges of the foil over the garlic heads to make a sealed pouch. You can place this in a small baking dish or directly on the oven rack.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, then check to see if the garlic is tender and roasted by opening the foil and inserting a toothpick or skewer into the cloves. If the toothpick easily slides in and out, the garlic is ready. If needed, roast the garlic for another 5 minutes or so.
Let the package cool for a few minutes before opening the foil, as very hot steam will emerge. When the garlic is cool enough to handle safely, you can either squeeze the cloves into an airtight container or store them whole. To puree, squeeze the cloves directly onto your cutting board, discarding the papery skins. Smash the cloves with the back of a large spoon, a rubber spatula, or the flat of your knife, and voilà—roasted garlic puree!
Salt draws the natural juices from aromatics and vegetables, intensifying the flavor.