Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Easy "Roasted" Garlic

Slow-roasted garlic is one of life's little culinary pleasures: Buttery-soft and easily spreadable, with a velvety mouthfeel and a rich, almost earthy mellow garlic flavor that lacks the sharply pungent edge of raw garlic. The only problem is that roasting a head of garlic in the oven takes a really long time.

Luckily, there's a quick and simple way to enjoy a surprisingly close imitation of roasted garlic, even when you're short on time. I learned this technique from my time in California's "wine country" many years ago. All you need is fresh peeled garlic cloves (which you can now find in the produce section of quality grocery stores like Whole Foods, saving you the trouble of peeling fresh garlic), water, and olive oil. I make a whole bunch at a time (at least 30 cloves) because you can store the "roasted" cloves in a sealed container in your refrigerator for up to a week. They might even keep longer, except I always use mine up within a few days. And once you taste these, you'll want to have plenty on hand to toss in salads, add to sandwiches, use as a garnish for entrees (steak, chicken, pork, fish, etc.), mix into omelets and scrambled eggs, and include in your favorite recipes.

Bring some water to a boil in a small saucepan--you'll want enough water to completely submerge the garlic cloves. Add the peeled garlic cloves to the boiling water and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and carefully pat dry the cloves with paper towels. In another small, heavy saucepan or skillet, heat half a cup to a cup of olive oil (enough to cover the cloves) over medium-high heat. Add the dry garlic cloves--you'll want to make sure they're completely dry so that they don't spatter--and cook over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, turning frequently, until deep golden-brown. Remove the garlic cloves from the hot oil--I use a metal mesh wok strainer--and place on paper towels to drain and cool. That's it!

Don't discard the oil you used to "roast" the garlic, as you've now created lusciously flavored garlic oil to use in dressings, for sauteing, and in other recipes. Allow the garlic oil to cool, then pour into a small clean glass jar or bottle with a lid.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

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