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When you roast garlic, you turn it soft, sweet, and unassertive.

When you roast garlic, you turn it soft, sweet, and unassertive

Two whole heads of garlic? There's that much in each of these recipes, but slow roasting disarms its hot, raw assertiveness and turns it into a subtle, surprisingly sweet condiment or seasoning.

The roasting procedure is simple. Cut garlic heads in half and bake them, cut side down, on an oiled pan. The surfaces of the cut cloves turn a rich brown and become almost sticky.

At this point, caramelized garlic is delicious as is, offered with roast meats, or to spread on toasted bread. Or use it to enhance these recipes for tamed aioli, tantalizing prune and cream cheese appetizers, or aromatic pizza.

Caramelized Garlic Cloves

Cut 2 large heads garlic (each about 2 1/2 in. wide) in two crosswise about 1/3 from the root end. Pour 1 tablespoon salad oil in an 8- or 9-inch wide baking pan. Place garlic, cut side down, in pan. Bake in a 350| oven until center cloves are very soft when pressed and cut sides are browned, about 1 hour.

To serve, offer garlic warm, allowing 1/2 head for each serving. To eat or use in the following recipes, pluck cloves from head, or, to extract quickly, squeeze whole head to force out soft cloves. (Remove any bits of husk.) If made ahead, cover and chill up to 3 days; freeze for longer storage. Makes about 1/4 cup.

Caramelized Garlic Aioli

Serve this mellow aioli as a dip for cherry tomatoes, red or green bell pepper strips, or cold cooked artichokes or green beans.

About 1/4 cup caramelized garlic cloves (recipe precedes)

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 large egg

1/2 cup salad oil

1/2 cup olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons water

Salt

In a blender or food processor, combine garlic, lemon juice, and egg; whirl until smooth. Combine salad oil and olive oil in a glass measuring cup. With motor on medium-high, pour in blended oils in a thin, steady stream. As mixture thickens, add oil faster but not quickly enough to form a puddle.

When sauce is too thick to incorporate oil, stir in water by hand, a spoonful at a time. With motor on, add remaining oil slowly. (In a blender, with motor off, you may need to stir the mixture by hand to get it moving.) Add salt to taste.

Serve, or, if made ahead, cover and chill up to 4 days. Makes 1 2/3 cups, about 12 servings.

Caramelized Garlic and Cream Cheese Prunes

30 pitted prunes (8 to 12 oz. total)

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 large package (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature

About 1/4 cup caramelized garlic cloves (recipe precedes)

15 slices bacon, cut in half

In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan, combine prunes and wine. Bring to a simmer; cover and cook over low heat just until prunes are plump, 7 to 9 minutes.

With an electric mixer, blend cream cheese and garlic until smooth. Drain prunes and make a depression in center of each. Fill depression in each prune with about 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture. Wrap a half-slice of bacon around each prune so bacon ends are on bottom.

Set prunes, cheese side down, on a rack in a 10- by 15-inch broiler or baking pan. Broil about 4 inches from heat until bacon just begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn over and continue broiling until bacon is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Let stand on pan until cheese firms slightly, about 2 minutes, then transfer to platter and serve warm with wooden picks. Makes 30; allow 2 or 3 for a serving.

Caramelized Garlic Pizza

About 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 loaf (1 lb.) frozen white bread dough, thawed

About 1/4 cup caramelized garlic cloves (recipe precedes)

6 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup fresh basil leave, cut in thin strips, or 2 tablespoons dry basil

3 ounces thinly sliced dry salami, cut in slivers

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over each of 2 baking pans, each 10 by 15 inches. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Put 2 pieces on each pan and shape into 6-inch rounds. Pat a slight depression, 4 inches across, in center of each round. Brush dough with remaining oil. Let rise in a warm place until puffy, about 30 minutes.

Evenly distribute equal portions of caramelized garlic over the depression on each pizza. Lay mozzarella evenly over each round. Then sprinkle evenly with basil, salami, and parmesan. Bake in a 450| oven until crust is dark golden brown, 10 to 14 minutes. Alternate pan positions halfway through baking. Serve hot. Serves 4.

Photo: Pluck sweetly roasted half-cloves from split head of garlic

Photo: Mellow, sweet garlic seasons the aioli dip for vegetables (above) and cream cheese filling for bacon-wrapped prunes (below)
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Oct 1, 1987
Words:827
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