For me, garlic is a much needed aromatic in my kitchen. I use it in basically everything & anything; it adds a wonderful taste & aroma when used in the right proportions - of course. While too much garlic can easily overpower a dish, using too little or no garlic leaves your food rather bland tasting & boring.
Now the health benefits of garlic are numerous & plentiful. Garlic is a naturally occurring antioxidant & also has many cardiovascular/heart healthy benefits. In addition, garlic has antibacterial properties and is thought to help regulate the body’s metabolism. Also, garlic is a very rich source of both Vitamins B-6 and C.
But many people avoid garlic because of its strong taste & aroma. A good compromise & solution to this dilemma is to use roasted garlic, which is actually milder & much less pungent than using raw garlic. Roasting garlic simply concentrates & intensifies its flavor with a lovely, subtle underlying sweetness. If you have never had roasted garlic before, you have no idea what you have been missing!
The myriad of uses for roasted garlic are really limitless – add a spoon or two of roasted garlic paste to your daily curries, dals, stir-frys/bhajis, marinades, chutneys, dips/spreads, baking items…
So in reference to my recipe below, each garlic head yields about 1 heaping tablespoon of garlic paste. So you can roast as many garlic heads as you wish.
3-4 large garlic heads
oil as needed (olive, canola or vegetable)
freshly ground black pepper, optional
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F – making sure a center rack is available and positioned correctly.
Leave the garlic head fully intact, now using a sharp knife – slice off the top (about ˝” or so of the stem end), exposing a cross section of the individual garlic cloves.
Then arrange the garlic heads in an oven-safe baking dish (or baking tray) and drizzle the top liberally with a little oil, rubbing it well into the individual cloves. Season the garlic heads with a little freshly ground black pepper if you wish. Next, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the garlic heads for 40-45 minutes or until they are golden brown and have softened completely. The roasted garlic will have a lovely buttery and creamy consistency.
Allow the garlic heads to cool sufficiently before handling them and then gently peel back the outer layers. You can use a small knife to loosen up the individual cloves and then simply squeeze out the garlic into a small bowl. You can mash it into a smooth paste using the back of a fork. The roasted garlic paste can be stored covered in the refrigerator for about 3-5 days.
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