Confession: I was in my early 20s before I knew what garlic was. I don’t think my family ever cooked with garlic, unless it was garlic powder. We did, however, eat a fair amount of garlic bread. And you know how garlic bread has little bits of parsley on it?
I thought that was garlic. For years I thought that was garlic. I mean, it was called garlic bread, right? Not parsley bread! So I figured garlic was some kind of green herb.
Once I started cooking for myself and making recipes I found elsewhere, I discovered that garlic was not an herb at all. And I also discovered that I loved garlic. Loved it! And when it’s roasted, it’s like WHOA. The flavor mellows out and it becomes almost buttery. If you don’t make roasted garlic, you should. Because: WHOA.
Here’s how to roast garlic:
Start by peeling the papery outer layers from a large head of garlic. You should be able to see the individual cloves, but leave the skin on those.
Now cut the top off. You’ll want each clove to be exposed, so how much you cut off depends on the size of the garlic head. Usually it’s about 1/4-1/2 inch.
Place the garlic head in a ramekin and drizzle it with oil.
Then season the garlic with salt and pepper. I like a lot of pepper on mine.
Cover the ramekin with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. This also depends on the size of the garlic head–larger cloves of garlic will take longer to roast.
The garlic is done when it can be easily pierced with a fork and the cloves are golden brown.
(PS: Your kitchen will smell amazing.)
Squeeze the individual garlic cloves out of the peel. Some cloves might need a little help; use a paring knife to cut the skin off of those.
Roasted garlic can be used in many different, delicious ways. Mashed potatoes! Pasta! Tossed with veggies! But my favorite way to use it is on bread. It makes a mean garlic bread (real, actual garlic bread!) and it’s also a fantastic sandwich spread, like in the Roasted Garlic Grilled Cheese Sandwich recipe below.
Roasted Garlic Grilled Cheese
Roasted garlic makes a great spread for sandwiches!
- 1 medium head garlic, roasted according to instructions above
- salt + freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- about 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 4 slices crusty bread
- 2 slices or 1/2 cup shredded cheese (just about any cheese will work!)
- Preheat panini press to high heat or a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
- Mash roasted garlic cloves with the back of a fork. Season with salt and a liberal amount of black pepper, to taste.
- Butter one side of two slices bread. Place on panini press or griddle. Top each with 1/4 cup of cheese. Spread bottom of remaining bread slices with roasted garlic; press onto cheese. Butter the top of each sandwich. Heat about 5 minutes on panini press, until browned. If using a skillet or griddle, heat about 3-4 minutes on each side.