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Kitchen Basics: Roasted Garlic

Susan writes the blog Cardamom Kitchen to share her culinary experiences as an Indian-American rooted in the Midwest. Luckily she's also sharing her experiences with Whole Story readers by demystifing essential cooking skills with step-by-step instructions and her own handsome photos.

I adore onions and cherish ginger, but nothing makes me swoon like the sonnet-worthy flavor of garlic. How do I love garlic? Please, allow me to count the ways. I love raw garlic with its crisp, edgy bite. I love sautéed garlic subdued a touch, but still full of spunk. When the air turns chilly, I love the nutty, sweet taste of roasted garlic emanating from a bowl of hot soup, thick pasta sauce, or a spoonful of rich dressing.

Roasting garlic is a simple, yet rewarding task. It not only results in a low-cost flavor booster, it also cloaks the kitchen with a cozy, comforting aroma like a well-worn woolen blanket. If you’re looking for a way to warm your tummy this fall, follow the steps below to roast a handful of plump, smooth-skinned garlic.

How to Roast Garlic

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a shallow baking dish with enough foil that the ends hang over the sides. 

Peel away any loose skin from the garlic bulbs.

Place a bulb on its side on a cutting board and slice 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the top, so the majority of cloves become visible. Repeat with the rest of the bulbs, if roasting more than one.

Place the bulbs in the foil-lined dish with the cut side facing up. 

Coat the cut surface of each bulb with olive oil. This will keep the garlic from burning.

Season with salt and pepper.

Pull the ends of the foil together and fold them down a few times to seal the bulbs in the foil package. Place the baking dish in the oven and roast until the cloves turn golden brown and become tender all the way through, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Carefully peel away the outer skin to release the cloves. Squeeze the skin at the base of each clove to push out the soft flesh.

How to Store Roasted Garlic

To store roasted garlic, place the cloves in an airtight container and pour in enough olive oil to cover the cloves completely. Keep the oil-packed cloves in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Susan kneads whole cloves of roasted garlic into a loaf of rosemary bread

I’d love to see your tips for roasting garlic! Share them with your fellow cooks in the comments section below.