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Chef Linda Weiss
Photograph: Linda Weiss

I learned how to make roasted garlic from Michael Chiarello when I took cooking classes from him at The Greenbrier Cooking School. The first night he was there as a guest chef he made a wonderful dinner for the 40 of us attending the classes. Everything he touched was like Midas and gold, he cooked it, and it was delicious.

I think one reason that Michael’s recipe for roasted garlic is so good is because he seasons the garlic heads prior to roasting them. Michael’s recipe uses 4 heads of garlic, but use whatever amount you like. I used two heads for my recipe because of the two of us in our household, but I’ll give you his recipe using 4 heads of garlic and you can modify it if you like.

I bought some really good ciabatta bread to spread with the garlic, and then added my own twist by squeezing out the roasted cloves onto the bread, topping it with lemon zest and finely chopped parsley. Just use your favorite bread because two favorites together can’t be bad.

When garlic is roasted, it becomes sweet and mild and bread is not the only vessel that it’s good on. A baked potato benefits very well from it too. So, does roasted garlic mixed with butter for garlic toast, and mixed with mayonnaise, for a little sauce similar to aioli to use as a sandwich spread. Roasted garlic paste can even be frozen for later use. I’ll tell you how below.

Enjoy the garlic. It’s good for you. Try adding it to different foods to give them another depth of character.

Roasted Garlic from The Greenbrier Cooking School (1992)

4 large heads garlic
6 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces extra virgin olive oil

Cut ½ inch off the top of each head of garlic. Place in a baking dish, fairly snug. Season with salt and pepper and place the thyme sprigs over the top of the garlic. Pour the olive oil over the top of each head. Cover with foil and bake in a 350º oven for approximately 45 minutes (until the cloves begin to pop out of the garlic skin). Let cool uncovered in the olive oil.

What I made after this was ciabatta bread sliced about 1-inch thick. You can toast it if you like, but I didn’t. I squeezed out some garlic and smashed it with the end of a knife, then spread it on the bread. Then, I grated lemon zest on top and then sprinkled with some finely chopped parsley.

Always refrigerate or freeze any leftovers. 

Freezing garlic paste- squeeze out the roasted garlic bulbs, and hit hard with a knife to make a paste.
Put in a container and cover with olive oil. Freeze until ready to use.

Follow Linda Weiss & Anne K Moore as they blog at Diggin’ It at the Christian Science Monitor website.

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