A smelly pleasure

Can you call any cooking task a bother? I’ve been thinking about it, but I can’t. Not even when involves a lot of garlic and dirty hands. Simply because roasting garlic is easy and provides you with a great condiment with lots of possibilities to use.

A while ago Food Gal asked her readers to muse about “something … that seems initially like such a bother but is worth it in the end.” It really got me thinking, as I really liked to taste the lamb that she could give away to the one with the most memorable answer. I don’t know who won. It wasn’t me, because I didn’t join the competition as I got to think about it. What’s a trouble not worth taking? In the kitchen I couldn’t come up with anything.

Yes, it usually takes me a few weeks of slight annoyance before I finally pick up my knives to sharpen them. Unpeeling a large batch of tomatoes also isn’t my favorite waste of time, but that’s mostly because it’s eaten way more faster than the peeling takes me. The work itself is rather zen to me. Then I came up with this one. If I told you right away, you might agree on this one. This one would have got me the lamb. I mean, your kitchen got to smell like you spread it all over the place. And your hands get dirty, sticky and the smell on your fingers lingers on for a while after the job is done.

But still, no! Roasting garlic and squeezing out the soft, browned, lovely perfumed flesh to preserve it for future cooking, I just can’t call it a bother. The work itself is done in 10 minutes for 1 garlic bulb and twice that time if you roast 2 bulbs. And then some minutes for cleaning up.

And all this is sooo worth it. The smell that comes from your skillet when you use a scoop of it when roasting onions makes everyone think you’re a great chef. Even your neighbors might come by to ask for a bite. You can use it in every dish that ask for a clove of garlic. Just use 1 teaspoon. Or more.

Using roasted garlic pulp has another big advantage over fresh chopped garlic. The roasting and just squeezing the flesh out of their papery skin overpower the effects of alliin converting into allicin (says wikipedia) and so causing the smell and your breath the next morning. Only when chopping and crushing the garlic, this effect will be much stronger. Roasted garlic therefore is great to use in dishes where the garlic isn’t cooked, like the Greek tzaziki sauce or herbal butter. But it’s also a great flavor to use in any dish, from classic Mediterranean to Asian food. I even spread it on my hamburger buns.

Try it! It’s easy.


GARLICillustration and recipe by EDIE EATS Food Blog by Edith Dourleijn


There are several ways of roasting garlic. I usually take the easy one: pull off all the cloves of the bulb (don’t peel them!), wrap them loosely in a sheet of aluminum foil and cook them in an oven, preheated at 350 F/180 C, for about 45 minutes.

Second way: cut of the head of the bulb and put the bulb in an oven tray. Pour some olive oil over it and cover with aluminum foil. Cook the same way.Test if the cloves are soft, if not, cook longer. You can sieve and use the oil for baking meat, potatoes or whatever.

The roasted garlic keeps in a small jar for about a week in your fridge. That’s the official me saying. Most of the time I keep it much longer, by using only clean spoons and cover the jar up immediately after scooping. Learn to trust you senses (i.e. nose and eyes) to judge if anything is good to eat or to throw away.

Great to do when your already roasting something else in your oven. Like beets and onions for this Roasted red beet millet salad.


2 Replies to “A smelly pleasure”

  1. I love that! Roasting garlic may at first seem like a chore. But you are so right — it rewards you in spades when you have it in your hands to spread on crostini, mix into mashed potatoes or alongside roasted meats. You can even freeze the extra, too. 😉

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