Even a garlic lover can deem a dish too strong with raw garlic. Sauteed garlic is much gentler and does not remind you that you ate it for as long as raw garlic. Yet, there is another rung on the ladder of kinder, gentler garlic, and it is a very tasty rung indeed – not that I make it a practice of licking ladder rungs, but flies (who taste with their feet) certainly can attest to the quality of the highest rung of garlic preparation.
Roasted garlic is soft and has a mild but rich flavor. It is so mild that you can literally smear a clove right on bread, cracker, romaine lettuce leaf… or nothing! Pop it in your mouth! You’ll be pleasantly surprised! The extra step up the ladder is definitely worth it.
Fortunately, even though it’s a higher rung, it is not a difficult climb. If you have an oven and 30 minutes you can whip up a batch of roasted garlic that can then be doled out into lots of recipes. During a recent hankering for hummus I opted to skip the raw garlic (making it more friendly as a work snack) and use roasted instead. As a nurse I think it only fair to skip the raw garlic in my lunch or snacks as the folks I work with are generally suffering enough as it is! ;-) The roasted garlic I prepared dressed up a lemony hummus and also came in handy with Brussels sprouts… I’ll get to that as well.
First off roasting garlic merely involves placing the head of garlic in the oven. You can buy a fancy roaster (here’s an example) but I have not found that to be necessary. I just place mine pointy end up in a glass pie plate or loaf pan and place it in a 400 degree oven for 30 – 35 minutes. This recipe at Simply Recipes suggests using a muffin tin. She also suggests placing olive oil on the head after you cut the top off and wrapping the head in aluminum foil. I did not do any of that. If you don’t even cut the top off, it keeps the cloves protected, but I might try it that way next time to see if it’s tastier.
After the head of garlic is cool, just peel out the cloves and use them in recipes like this!
Lemony Roasted Garlic Hummus
3 cups cooked and rinsed chickpeas (save the cooking water or canned water to used below)
6 cloves roasted garlic
1 tsp lemon zest
juice from 1.5 lemons
4 Tbsp. tahini
6 Tbsp. water
1 tsp, ground cumin
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 Tbsp. oil
Place all in food processor and beat the heck out of it. I usually mix a little before adding the water as I think it makes for less sloppage up the sides of the processor bowl, but of course you can always scrape down the sloppage. Depending on the softness of your chickpeas and your tahini, you may need to add a little extra water or oil. It’s your call! Get the hummus to a consistency that you like.
I used to use a lemon squeezer to get lemon juice without seeds but somehow the little buggers were always sneaking around the corners…. seeking out an opportunity to be planted I guess, but now I just use this method:
Once the tahini was smooth and creamy…
Love that tahini so cool and dreamy…
Sorry had a rhythmic interruption there.
Once it was done, I packed some into small cups to be taken to work or school or in the car for snacks. Packing small, extra or lunch size portions of something when I am putting it away saves lots of time packing lunches and saves lots of money in that I don’t buy something when I stop for my Big Gulp! (I’m just kidding, a Big Gulp! is a Big Health Problem AND a Big Urinate – ain’t nobody got time for that!)
Later that day, as I pondered roasting brussels sprouts for dinner, I decided to use some more of the roasted garlic and dress those cute little cabbage wannabes up a bit.
Dijon Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts – enough to about cover the bottom of your baking pan) – or however many you have, probably shouldn’t bother unless you have 5 or more ;-)
1/2 – 1 Tbsp. oil
salt to taste
1.5 – 2.5 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
4 cloves roasted garlic
1 tsp oil
I usually cut the tough stem end off and then cut the brussels in half – so they cook faster and more thoroughly in the middle.
Toss with the 1/2 – 1 Tbsp oil (I used avocado – your favorite or what you have on hand will work as well) and salt, spread out on a baking pan, and roast at 375. They usually take about 30 – 40 minutes.
While they are roasting mash the garlic, vinegar, tsp of oil and mustard together.
When the Brussels have just about reached their desired tenderness, take them out and mix in the sauce.
Roast for another 5 – 10 minutes.
If you think you don’t like Brussels Sprouts, I highly recommend you try them roasted. And if you think you don’t like garlic, I highly recommend you try it roasted. And I’m trying to think of some other clever or snide thing to tell you to roast but I’m too lost in the wonder of roasted garlic and brussel sprouts. My buddy Carol calls roasted brussels the “Over 40 Party Food.” Well…. I think young folks these days have more sense than that, so, come on you under 40-type young people, tell me how much you like roasted Brussel sprouts!