I keep hearing things about roasted garlic... good things, like how lovely and mellow it tastes, and how it's perfect as a spread straight onto fresh French bread, etc etc. It's not a new thing, obviously. I must confess that this is not the first time that I've roasted garlic bulbs whole. It's actually the second time. And the reason that there's been a gap of a few years between the first attempt and this one is that I sodhapufied (ruined, in Tamil slang) it big time. The garlic was absolutely disgusting, bitter to the core. After that I was too nervous to try again, although I thought about it every so often.
Then I bought 3 bulbs of smoked garlic on an impulse, with no real idea of what to do with them... until it struck me that I could roast them. This time, I was careful to cover the garlic with foil and to roast the heads at 180C for about 30 minutes. This time, probably because I was careful, the roasted garlic was just wonderful - it slipped out of its papery skin without a problem, it smelt gorgeous, and I must have eaten a full head by myself without really realising it, it was that good. The rest of the bulb I used to make a garlic and tomato bread... but that's for another post.
PS. You don't have to use smoked garlic; regular garlic will do just as well.
Recipe for: Roasted smoked garlic
3 heads of smoked garlic
3 tsp olive oil
1. Peel the garlic until you're down to the single skin covering the bulbs. Slice off the top of the bulbs to expose the white flesh within.
2. Drizzle one tsp olive oil over each cut head of garlic. Place in a small baking tray and cover the top tightly with foil.
3. Bake at 180C (350F) for 20-30 minutes, or till a knife inserted into a garlic pearl goes in easily. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before squeezing the inner flesh from the papery skin (carefully, as it can still be very hot). Use the roasted garlic in cooking, or just smear it on a baguette with a little salt.