It started as a California thing, but soon chefs everywhere were roasting whole heads of garlic, and using them in a variety of ways.
4 heads fresh garlic, loose outer skin removed
four 3-inch strips lemon zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
6 sprigs of fresh thyme plus additional for garnish
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh sage
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
warm buttered toast for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut off the stem and the top one fifth of the heads of garlic. Place the garlic in a garlic roaster or on a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place lemon zest, thyme, rosemary, sage, and bay leaves across the cut top of the garlic heads and drizzle with olive oil. Place the cover on the garlic roaster or close up the aluminum foil and seal the edges tightly.
3. Roast the garlic for 1 hour. Remove the package from the oven, open carefully, and let the contents cool slightly. Discard the herb sprigs and lemon zest. Serve.
Here's another dish that became a standard during the American revolution (the restaurant revolution of the eighties and nineties, that is). It started as a California thing, but soon chefs everywhere were roasting whole heads of garlic, and using them in a variety of ways. Most simply, the cooked cloves are great to squeeze; the soft garlic that comes out is a delicious spread for bread. You can squeeze the garlic on rustic European breads, on crostini, on bruschetta -- but it's surprisingly good on simple buttered toast. You can also spread the garlic on cooked food -- like grilled fish, meat, and vegetables. The garlic purée is lovely mixed into potato dishes (like mashed potatoes) and bean dishes. Finally, lots of chefs like to garnish their main courses with whole pieces of roasted garlic that have been carefully extracted from the whole roasted head. Just strew with impunity.