This recipe gives you two flavorful components to infuse other dishes with: Once cooled, the garlic oil can be used in dressings and sauces, to flavor leafy greens, or serve with meat dishes, while the softened garlic itself can be served with cooked vegetables, folded into eggs or grain dishes, or whipped into mashes. You can season the oil with additional elements as you desire. Try black or pink peppercorns, bay leaves, chiles, star anise, or tarragon.
Adapted from Hartwood by Eric Werner and Mya Henry (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015.
What You Will Need
- 6 whole heads of garlic
- 2-3 cups olive oil, or an equal mix of canola and olive oils
- 3 sprigs oregano
- 3 sprigs thyme
Preheat the oven to 350°F and set a rack in the center. Slice off the top ½ inch of each garlic head so that most of the cloves are exposed. Transfer to a small 8-inch oven-safe skillet. Add the herb sprigs and pour in enough olive oil (about 2 cups) to reach almost to the top of the heads, but not fully. Cover the pan tightly with foil and roast until the garlic is softened, 45–50 minutes (test with the tip of a paring knife). Remove the foil and turn up the oven to 400°F. Continue baking until the tops are browned slightly, about 5 minutes more, or 10 minutes more for a darker brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle easily.
Strain the oil into a heatproof vessel such as a glass jar. Use immediately or seal tightly and store in a cool, dark place (the oil will last longest in the refrigerator; just be sure to take it out about an hour before using at room temperature to let the oil liquefy, or liquefy it by heating gently in a pan).
Place the garlic heads in a bowl. Separate the cloves and squeeze the pulp into a separate jar. Discard the skin and herbs. Strain the oil that collected in the bowl and use it to cover the garlic cloves; add more of the prepared garlic oil as needed to cover the cloves fully.
Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Remove an hour before using at room temperature to let the oil liquefy, or liquefy it by heating gently in a pan.