Friday, September 21, 2012

Roasted Garlic Spread--Another Flavor from Italy

A spread made form roasted garlic features in many culinary books or TV programs. The idea of this spread comes from Italian tradition and there are different methods of making it. There is even a special clay dish designed to bake garlic in it.

Since I am one to those persons for whom too much garlic is never too much, I have always been very keen on trying roasted garlic recipes.

I know from cooking a lot with garlic that, although very strong and aromatic when raw, cooked or roasted garlic can be rather mild in taste. I make a veal dish that calls for 40 garlic cloves and they just add a delicate flavor without killing the taste of the meat.

This summer when I bought a bag of beautiful and large garlic heads I finally decided to make this roasted garlic spread. I served it to my guests on which I always try my experiments and that easy dish earned many compliments, particularly from my vegetarian and vegan friends. I serve it with a warm ficelle or ciabatta bread. It tastes even better with a glass of red wine. So far, no one resisted it. Since a couple of friends already asked for this recipe I share it today.

Roasted Garlic Spread

4 large garlic heads(the bigger the better),
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil,
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary,
2 sprigs of fresh thyme,
1/2 tsp sea salt,
1/4 tsp black pepper.

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Cut a thin layer off the tops of the garlic heads, so that the tips of the cloves are visible, and place them in a small oven-proof dish.
3. Sprinkle the garlic heads with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil. Put herb sprigs on top.
4. Cover the dish with a double layer of aluminium foil and roast the garlic for about one to one and half hour.

5. When garlic cools down a bit, squeeze the cloves out of the heads to the small bowl and mash well with a fork to make a smooth spread. If the spread is too thick add the olive oil remaining from roasting.

6. Drizzle gently on top with extra sea salt and serve with white breads.

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