When roasted, the pungent and sometimes biting complexity of garlic is softened and sweetened and it becomes almost magical. Here’s How to Make Perfectly Roasted Garlic in your oven or your new Instant Pot pressure cooker!
It has been brought to my attention many times that I don’t share some of the basic techniques that my girls learned growing up in a kitchen with a cook. Whether it’s my own grown children, their friends or even my neighbors, I do forget sometimes that easy and every day for me is anything but for them. And I’ve listened when they’ve asked me to include some posts for those basics.
So…today is the day I start. I’ve been posting lots of articles on Thursday the past year that have been photo re-dos…replacing some of the awful photos from when I first started blogging about my favorite recipes and had both a simple point and shoot camera and not one clue about how to use it for food photos. I still have some more to complete, but the most important recipes have new or newer photos that better represent their wonderfulness. Which means the time has come when I can pre-empt that focus and start a new one. I know it’s a simple name but it’s also the truth; Thursdays will now be dedicated to Back to Basics and I hope you find it worthwhile…or your daughter or son will!
Today it’s all about roasting garlic. It’s actually more than that but it could get long winded and redundant as I progress through additional posts but suffice to say this. My cousin sent me a request to try and improve a recipe she had made for Hummus. I was game and believe it or not, I had never made hummus so I thought it would be fun too. Her one complaint was that the garlic was overpowering so my first thought was that roasting it would be the answer.
Hummus is a combination of cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and tahini with myriad flavors added to the blended mix to make a smooth, tasty dip or spread. Getting there meant cooking the chickpeas in a pressure cooker, making tahini, roasting garlic and bringing it all together in an artichoke and roasted garlic spread. We’ll get there but one step at a time and no, it won’t take a month…I’ll be posting all these component recipes in short order; we’ll get to the hummus next week, promise. This was easy and so delicious so come along with me as I start with the garlic!
Now the truth is that one could get away with making this smooth spread by using chickpeas from a can and prepared tahini but for me, that didn’t sound like as much fun. In researching the ingredients, I discovered that neither of those two critical components are difficult to prepare so yes, my end result hummus will include both from scratch. I decided to make two batches, one flavored with artichokes and roasted garlic and another with sundried tomatoes and again, roasted garlic.
So…first on my agenda was the garlic. If you have never roasted garlic before, stop now and just go do it. The pungent and super aromatic cloves develop into a sweet, soft, almost buttery substance that is amazing and the flavor adds a wonderful rich taste to so many dishes without that pungency some don’t like. Even garlic haters have been known to switch over to garlic lovers when given the option of roasted garlic.
The best part? Easy peasy. Simple cut off the top of the head to expose the bulbs inside, dribble some olive oil on top, sprinkle with a bit of salt and cover with foil before roasting in the oven. I use my toaster oven…doesn’t even heat up the kitchen!
Because the Instant Pot and other electric pressure cookers have become the darlings of home cooks, I wanted to see if I could use mine to speed up the process. While not really roasting, they do steam at pressure and develop most of the same qualities…except there is no beautiful brown caramelization. Aha…the broiler to the rescue!
I’ll be honest, the results are not exactly like those slow roasted in the oven but they were close enough that I can heartily recommend this method if you have a pressure cooker; soft cloves that easily slip from the skin with enough caramelization to give them that extra oomph. Since roasted garlic is always added to other ingredients like butter or salad dressings and dips like the hummus I was making, it was nice that it shaved off at least 40 minutes of cooking time.
I made two versions, the artichoke/roasted garlic one and another with sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic. Both were outstanding…see what you have to look forward to?
Did I mention how wonderful Perfectly Roasted Garlic is in salad dressings? The one in this recipe for Mixed Greens Salad with Smoked Mozzarella and a Warm Roasted Garlic Dressing is my all time favorite. You must roast garlic and then you really must make this salad too!
Here’s the finished lineup for everything that came together in the Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Hummus. Mixing up some ingredients and changing flavors is so easy…watch out for the Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic version I made showing up soon!
All the Recipes:
- Roasted Garlic in the Oven or Instant Pot (You’re Here!)
- Chickpeas Cooked in an Instant Pot
- Homemade Toasted Tahini
- Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Hummus
1 hr 5 mins
Perfectly roasted garlic can be made in your oven or your pressure cooker.
- One whole head of garlic
- Olive Oil
- Salt and/or pepper
In the Oven:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare the heads of garlic by slicing off the top quarter-inch of the bulb, exposing the top of the cloves.
- Put into a small oven safe dish and drizzle the top with olive oil, just enough to cover the top. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and then wrap the top of the dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes depending on the size of your head of garlic. The cloves are done when the tops start to turn brown and pushing the head gently has the cloves easily pop out of the surrounding garlic skin.
- Add to your recipe or simply combine with some butter for bread or dinner rolls.
In the Pressure Cooker:
- Prepare the heads of garlic by slicing off the top quarter-inch, just as you would if you were cooking them in the oven. Add one cup of water to the bottom of your pressure cooker and insert a steamer basket or metal grid to keep the garlic out of the water and place the garlic on top (no need to wrap).
- Drizzle the top with olive oil and sprinkle with some salt.
- Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. Once the pressure releases, transfer the garlic to a cookie sheet or oven safe dish and drizzle the top with more olive oil.
- Broil the garlic head for five minutes until the cloves start to turn brown and caramelize.