Shopping at my local farmers market often provides spur-of-the-moment inspiration based on what’s fresh and seasonal. Case in point: I was strolling through the vendor aisles at the Marin Civic Center market last Sunday when the intoxicating fragrance of roasted garlic led me to the nearby Front Porch Farm booth .
I traced the aroma to a beautiful wicker basket brimming with large bulbs of spring garlic. Next to the bounty was a baking dish filled with golden oven-roasted cloves and pieces of toasted rustic bread. It smelled like garlic nirvana!
Smart farmer! She knew her patrons would never be able to resist this temptation. I quickly chose two large specimens, and asked for her recipe.
Oven-baked garlic is beautiful in its simplicity and exquisite in taste. Drenching the outer bulb in high quality extra virgin olive oil and then roasting it softens the pungent inner cloves to a buttery, spreadable consistency that is absolutely addictive smeared on toasted artisan bread. Roasted garlic is also delicious blended into soups, dips, and dressing, tossed with veggies, or whipped into mashed potatoes.
The baked cloves squeeze easily from the bulb, and can be stored in the refrigerator (packed in olive oil) for up to two-weeks. Be sure to reserve the garlic-infused olive oil in the baking dish for use in other recipes!
The only caveat: make sure everyone in the household partakes. You’ll all have major garlic breath for days–but it’s worth it.
OVEN-ROASTED SPRING GARLIC from Front Porch Farm in Healdsburg, CA.
1-2 heads spring garlic
finest quality extra virgin olive oil
*Note: I love using Barbara Extra Virgin Olive Oil which is hand-harvested on a multi-generational family farm in Sicily. It comes in a special vacuum sealed, eco-friendly box that keeps the oil fresh and available in large quantity for all my cooking needs.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Place spring garlic bulbs on a cutting board. Trim off all but 6″ of the stock, and slice the bottom root end off exposing the cloves inside.
3. Coat the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking pan generously with extra virgin olive oil. Place garlic bulbs & sliced ends side-by-side in the pan, stalk end up, and smother generously with more olive oil. All surfaces should be coated with oil.
6. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves into a container and cover lightly with more olive oil. Enjoy warm as a spread on crusty toasts or crackers.
Note: *Roasted garlic is amazing served with a soft cheese; goat, brie, cream, or farmers-style fresh cheeses are perfect.