Killer Garlic Bread with Roasted Garlic

This garlic bread is so good that it’s easy to eat it in place of eating dinner by mistake (my wife did this last night).  For whatever reason, it is highly addictive.  Also, it’s guaranteed to keep the vampires away but won’t leave you feeling like a giant bulb of garlic due to the fact that its primary garlicky-ness comes from roasted, not raw, garlic.

Roasting garlic is not difficult; it takes about an hour and will fill your house the the maddeningly enticing aroma of sweet-savory garlic.  Roast multiple bulbs at a time and store leftovers in the freezer.  It lasts months in the freezer and softens up in the microwave in about 15 seconds (simply put a half head or so on a paper towel and microwave until soft).  A few cloves of roasted garlic add depth to any dish and will leave eaters wondering why whatever they’re eating is so good.  For example, adding a few cloves of roasted garlic to Classic Caesar Dressing along with a couple cloves of fresh minced garlic will change your Caesar dressing game forever.

Note that many recipes for roasted garlic call for cutting the tops off the heads of garlic to expose the cloves and roasting them in a 400°F oven for about 40 minutes.  In my mind, this method creates three problems:  First, you waste the little triangles of garlic from the tops of the cloves.  Second, all cloves will not be evenly exposed, which means when it comes time to pick them out of the bulb some might get stuck.  Third, it creates a harder husk around the clove which then makes it more difficult to incorporate the cloves into a recipe.  Slicing the garlic cloves in half and then roasting them at a lower temperature for a long period of time reduces waste and makes it easier to use the garlic for many recipes.

Without further ado; here’s how to do it:

Ingredients

For the Roasted Garlic

  1. 4 heads of garlic.  Look for garlic that is mostly uniform in size and shape.
  2. Approximately 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. Kosher Salt

For the Garlic Bread

  1. 1/2 to 1 whole head (yeah, you read that right – head – of garlic), depending on size.  Don’t worry, roasted garlic behaves quite differently from raw
  2. 1/4 cup butter, room temperature (you could sub olive oil here if you wanted to)
  3. 1/4 cup mayonnaise (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it; trust me)
  4. 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, Asiago, Romano or Cotija cheese
  5. 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced or pressed
  6. 2-3 tablespoons minced cilantro or parsley
  7. Kosher salt to taste, probably about a tablespoon
  8. 1 loaf of bread, halved lengthwise

Instructions

For the Roasted Garlic

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Snip any long tops off the top of the garlic cloves.  When you flip them over you want them to stand up with cloves exposed as much as possible.
  3. Slice the garlic heads in half lengthwise using a serrated or bread knife.  Place the garlic head halves face up (cloves exposed) into a small (9×9 works great here) roasting pan.
  4. Drizzle all the cloves with olive oil.  Flip a few times if necessary to insure even coating.  Season with kosher salt.
  5. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast for about 1 hour.  Begin checking after 50 minutes; insert a cake-tester or toothpick into one of the cloves; it should be very soft (like the consistency of a well-cooked potato) when done.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool, covered, for 30 minutes.

For the Garlic Bread

  1. Mix ingredients 1-7 together using a spatula or spoon until well incorporated into a nice paste.  Use immediately, or cover and reserve at room temperature for up to 1 hour – do not refrigerate because it will harden and become impossible to spread.
  2. Spread mixture all over both halves of bread (don’t neglect the corners or edges!)
  3. Place the bread on a baking sheet and pop them under the broiler, set on low and about 6 inches away, and broil until golden brown and bubbly.  (Note, don’t broil on high heat or too close, because then the surface will be golden brown and bubbly and the rest will be raw.)

Serve and enjoy.  And make sure Count Dracula isn’t on your guest list.

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