Roasted Garlic Butter

This butter is one of my favorite things to have in my fridge. For a long time I didn’t get why people were so fond of garlic (all this peeling!). However, over the past two years I have developed a great liking for the humble garlic. The way I like to use garlic these days is not chopped or minced in dishes, but roasted in its own skin. During roasting garlic’s pungent taste grows into a deep, sweet and complex flavor that pairs amazingly with meet, mushrooms, potatoes, woody herbs and butter without overwhelming its counterparts.

Years ago, during one of BBC Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen secrets episodes (I still think of it as one of the best cooking shows, and luckily enough his recipes are still available through the BBC website), he devoted an episode to French garlic. During his visit to a garlic farmer in the provence they showcased bulbs that looked incredibly pretty, almost pinkish. This was really different than the garlic I came across in the supermarket (read: bright white Chinese bulbs bought on my student budget). Even though I am still not spending a fortune on garlic, these days I go for the pretty ones at my vegetable monger or at the day market.

What I took away from this one episode is that you can roast an entire bulb of garlic in the oven into a soft, mild and aromatic puree that can be squeezed out of
its skin.
ย After roasting, I let the garlic bulbs cool down before I squeeze out the cloves into a bowl and mush them down with a fork into soft butter with some nice salt and dried chili pepper (my favorite salt is the chipotle smoked salt that is sold at the Marcs & Spencer for 2,50 GBP). This garlic butter is surprisingly mild, with almost no garlic smell to it. Feel free to adjust the ratios to your own liking.
This is altogether a tasteful seasoning of any dish that is handy to have on hand. I use it spread on fresh sourdough bread, brushed or mixed into a quiche, to brown mushrooms in or as a base of cheese oat biscuits (to be continued soon:)).

Garlic butter

  • 2 or 3 bulbs of garlic (as nice as you can find)
  • a little sprinkling of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I used smoked chipotle salt)
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or thyme (optionally)
  • 250 grams of butter
Over time I have found that slicing the whole bulb
vertically in half is a handy shortcut (this is easiest done with a very sharp large knive). This
way you can easily extract the roasted half-cloves out of its outer
skin. I have found that the more ‘flesh’ you
leave on the bottom part of the garlic, the easier it will be to
squeeze the soft cloves out. I can’t explain why but the addition of a little olive oil, even
less than a tablespoon, really helps the process and results in a much
softer end product, which might have something to do with the distribution
of heat and steam within the package. Roast the package in a moderately hot oven, on 180 degrees Celsius, for about 40 minutes (no need to preheat the oven), until the insides of the cloves look browned and soft. I find it easy to lay it on the bottom of the oven while baking something else, simply for the sake of economics.ย I used three tablespoons of this super tasty butter to make a mushroom-rosemary quiche, I hope you will enjoy this in your kitchen as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

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