When it comes to recipes, I’ll admit I’m not the best at following instructions. If the recipe calls for any type of oil, I usually sub in either sesame or olive oil. Mayonnaise? My version gets Greek yogurt. A clove of roasted garlic? Mine usually gets the kind that comes minced and in a bottle, or garlic powder. It’s just so much easier and quicker to use than trying to mince up whole cloves (and not mince your fingers). That’s what I thought… until a few days ago.
This weekend I was making hummus and realized that tragically, I was out of bottled minced garlic and garlic powder. I know, how could I let this happen? It’s almost as bad as being out of coffee (although I’m actually doing ok without it these days). Anyways, back to the garlic. Hummus just isn’t hummus without garlic, and I happened to have several bulbs of the real stuff sitting in a bowl in my kitchen. Then the idea popped into my head: If I roast the garlic in the oven with some olive oil, I won’t need to mince up the cloves because they’ll just squish out of the skins. Voila! And that, dear bloggies, was my inspiration for this post. Before I even break down the steps, let me just say that the flavour of roasted garlic is SO much better than the powdered and bottled kinds that you will never want to go back. This is how to make some for yourself:
You will need…
extra virgin olive oil
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with a piece of foil.
Step 2: Peel the loose skins off of the garlic, but don’t pull every layer off. Cut across the pointy part of the bulb so that all of the cloves are exposed.
Step 3: Drizzle olive oil over the exposed parts of the garlic bulbs. About 1 tsp of olive oil per bulb should be enough, but it will depend on the size of the garlic bulbs you have.
Step 4: Place the bulbs on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the bulbs look like this:
Step 5: When the garlic has roasted, remove it from the oven. Flip the bulbs over so that the olive oil can soak into the cloves.
Step 6: Let the bulbs cool for a few minutes, then squish the garlic out of the paper skins while it is still warm.
It’s best to use it immediately or within the first couple of days of cooking it. If you find you have too much, you could throw it into hummus (my recipe will be coming soon!), dip, or blend it into butter to make garlic butter. It can also be used on its own as a spread for baguettes. Don’t worry – the roasting lessens the intensity of the the flavour, so it’s not just like eating a raw garlic clove on a piece of toast!
Since I certainly didn’t need 2 entire bulbs for my hummus, I also created this for dinner…
Lemon-Herb Cod Packets with Steamed Kale
2 cod fillets, about 150g each
1 cup Brussels sprouts, halved
¼ cup chopped red onion
1 cup peeled diced sweet potato
1-2 cloves roasted garlic
sea salt (I used Herbamare original) and black pepper
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
For the kale:
About 3-4 cups raw kale
1-2 cloves roasted garlic, finely chopped (depending on how garlicky you like your greens, and your proximity to a toothbrush post-meal)
Preheat oven to 375F.
Using 2 large sheets of parchment paper, fold the paper in half to form 2 packets. Place half of the Brussels sprouts, onion, and sweet potato near the fold of each packet, sprinkle with chopped roasted garlic, and mist with olive oil.
Arrange the cod fillets on top of the vegetables, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, parsley and tarragon, and place 2 lemon slices on top of each piece.
Fold up the edges of each packet to form a seal. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the fish is completely cooked. (May need 35 minutes if the fish fillets are thick).
Annnnnd for the greens:
Fill a saucepan about 1/3 of the way full with water and bring it to a boil. About 5 minutes before the fish is ready, arrange a vegetable steamer basket on top of the saucepan. Wash the kale and chop it into pieces. Place the kale into the steamer basket and mix in a little more roasted garlic, black pepper and lemon juice.
Cover the steamer basket with a lid and allow the kale to steam for 3-4 minutes. It should be bright green when finished – don’t cook it for too long or it will lose its nutrients (and that would be sad).
When ready to serve, divide the steamed kale between 2 plates and arrange the contents of each packet next to the kale. Squeeze lemon juice on top of everything and serve immediately.
Judging by the fact that in total there were 22 photos of this meal on my camera and not 1, not 2, but three of the final dish made it to the blog for your viewing pleasure, I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that it was a tasty meal!
Questions for today:
Are there any recipe substitutions that you always make?
When you cook/bake, do you follow recipes exactly or improvise?
On an unrelated note, I’m putting together a running Q&A post based on the emails you guys have been sending me. If you have any running-related questions, send them my way and I’ll do my best to answer.