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How-To

How to Roast Garlic Without the Mess

Handmade TV and Sarah Breckenridge
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The usual way to roast garlic involves slicing the top off the entire head, roasting it whole, and then squeezing the roasted cloves out of their skins. The garlic is sweet and mellow, but your fingers get sticky, papery flakes of skin tend to end up in the garlic, and the garlic itself gets squished, so it’s hard to use it for anything other than purees. But there’s a better way: Instead of roasting the head whole, separate it into individual cloves. You don’t need to peel them, but do rub off the flaky, papery skin.

Use a paring knife to nip off the root end of each clove. You want the skin to stay on for the most part, though it’s fine if a little comes off.

Now put the cloves on a square of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, and use your fingers to rub the olive oil all over the cloves. You can also add a sprig of thyme if you like.

Now gather the foil into a pouch and set it directly on your oven rack at 350 degrees. Roast it for about 45 minutes, until the garlic becomes very soft, and lightly browned. When the garlic is done, open the pouch and let the cloves cool until you can handle them.

And then, you just have to give each clove a little squeeze at the untrimmed end, and the garlic should slide right out in one piece.

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