There’s more than one way to roast garlic. For a long time, I roasted whole heads of garlic with their tops cut off so I could just squeeze the cloves of roasted garlic right out of their skins. That approach was all right, but the garlic got squished, my fingers got sticky, and annoying flakes of papery skin would stick to my fingers and get in my roasted garlic. Now I use this neater method.
1. Separate a head of garlic into individual cloves. Don’t peel the cloves, but do rub off any flaky or papery skin. Use a paring knife to nip off the stem end of each clove. You want the peel to stay on, but it’s fine if a little comes off.
2. Put the cloves in the center of a square of aluminum foil, drizzle with a little olive oil, and use your fingers to rub the oil evenly on the cloves. Add fresh herb sprigs for aroma, if you like.
3. Gather the foil into a beggar’s pouch and set the pouch directly on the rack of a 350°F oven. Roast until the garlic becomes very soft and lightly browned, about 1 hour. You can roast two heads’ worth of cloves in one pouch, but for more than that, make another pouch.
4. Open the pouch and let the cloves sit until they’re cool enough to handle. Squeeze each clove gently at the untrimmed end and the roasted flesh should slide right out in one piece.