Have you ever wondered how to roast garlic without foil? Here is my trick for creating sweet creamy roasted garlic using two muffin pans.
When most people make oven-roasted garlic they wrap it in foil and place it in a hot oven. But I don't want to waste a sheet of aluminum foil when there is a much easier way to roast whole heads of garlic.
Why roast whole heads of garlic? Roasted garlic transforms and becomes creamy, buttery, and sweet and adds amazing flavor to a variety of dishes. Learn how to easily roast whole heads of garlic in the oven without wasting foil.
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Why Should You Roast Garlic?
Roasting garlic does take a little bit of time and effort. But the results are definitely worth it and perfect if you are a garlic lover.
When raw garlic is cut the cells are damaged causing it to convert sulfur-containing proteins into molecules that have a strong smell and sharp flavor. These molecules are called allicin, which, like the capsaicin found in chiles triggers the heat sensors on your tongue.
- When roasted the sugars in garlic concentrate. Its flavor mellows from spicy, sharp and pungent to buttery, nutty, and sweet.
- Roasted garlic adds a sweetness and depth to dishes such as soups, mashes, dressings, marinades, and sauces.
- Roasted garlic is easy to preserve.
You only need two simple ingredients:
Olive Oil: Because we are cooking the olive oil it doesn't need to be expensive or fancy. Cheaper regular olive oil will work just fine.
If you don't have olive oil ghee or avocado oil would work too.
Garlic Head: I usually roast one muffin pan full of garlic, which means you will need 12 heads of garlic. I often buy these at a warehouse store like Sam's or Costco. If you don't have a membership to one of these stores the next best place to buy garlic is at Aldi.
How to Buy and Store Fresh Garlic
- Garlic heads should be firm and plump.
- Avoid garlic heads that are soft and spongy or heads with green shoots growing out of them.
- Store garlic at room temperature in a dry, dark place.
How to Roast Garlic in a Pan
Cut approximately a ½ inch off the top of each garlic bulb. Peel as much of the papery skin off as you can. Make sure to expose the top of each clove of garlic.
Place one head of garlic in each section of a muffin tin. Drizzle olive oil over each head of garlic and rub it in making sure the garlic is well coated.
Place the second inverted muffin tray on top. Bake in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for 40 - 45 minutes. You may want to check the garlic after 30 minutes. Some ovens cook faster than others.
Roasted garlic is done when the tops are nicely caramelized and the tip of a knife is easily inserted into an inner clove.
Once cooled, squeeze each garlic clove from its skin.
Don't forget to save all of the garlic skins to use in this homemade chicken stock.
What if You Don't Have Two Muffin Pans?
There are several different methods you can choose from if you don't have two muffin pans.
When roasting a whole head of garlic, you want to trap the steam to keep the garlic bulbs moist.
- You can stack two cake pans on top of each other the same way you would stack the muffin pans.
- If you are only roasting a single whole bulb of garlic, you can wrap it in a piece of parchment paper and use kitchen twine to tie the parcel closed.
- If you are roasting garlic often, you may want to purchase a garlic roaster which is often a lidded terra cotta vessel.
- You can also just use another small baking dish if it has an oven-safe lid.
How to Use Roasted Garlic
Roasted garlic adds delicious flavor to a variety of dishes.
- One of the simplest ways to use roasted garlic is to puree it with a little bit of olive oil turning it into a creamy buttery paste. Garlic paste makes a delicious dip for crackers and vegetables. It can also be used as a spread on slices of crusty bread.
- Add it to your favorite pasta dishes or pasta sauces like this fresh vegetable pasta sauce.
- Mix it with mayonnaise to create garlic aioli to spread on a sandwich.
- Add roasted garlic to mashed potatoes, cauliflower, rutabagas, or turnips. Pretty much any vegetable that you can mash will benefit from the addition of roasted garlic.
- Add it to whipped butter to make a delicious spread and create your own garlic bread.
- Use it in salad dressings or vinaigrettes.
- Add roasted garlic to soups and stews.
- Saute it with mushrooms and use it as a topping for steak, chicken, or pork.
- Stir it into homemade or store-bought hummus.
How to Store Roasted Garlic
Always refrigerate or freeze roasted cloves of garlic. Whole heads of roasted garlic can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Preserving Roasted Garlic in Oil
To extend roasted individual garlic cloves' shelf life, submerge them in enough oil to cover the soft garlic cloves completely and store them in a sealed jar.
Stored this way roasted garlic will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Be sure to save the garlic oil. It will add mellow garlic flavor to sautees and vinaigrettes.
How to Freeze Roasted Garlic
My favorite way to store garlic is to place roasted garlic cloves in an ice cube tray and then cover them with olive oil.
Once frozen the garlic and olive oil form ready-to-use portions that are convenient to use whenever a recipe calls for sauteed garlic.
Transfer the frozen garlic olive oil cubes to a freezer bag. The frozen garlic should last in the freezer for up to three months.
Frozen roasted garlic is a great staple to have in your freezer. Another great freezer staple that helps me save time and money is frozen herbs.
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