Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Roasted garlic

Roasted garlic is creamy and seductive, its pungency tamed to a rich sweetness. The problem is that the time it takes to reach this state is unpredictable. Undercook the cloves, and they might as well be raw; overcook them, and they shrivel.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a recipe in his valuable River Cottage Meat Book for pork chops with garlic cloves. You fry the chops and garlic, and finish cooking them for about 20 minutes in the oven. But garlic -- particularly the stuff around at the moment -- is rarely tender in that time. At the weekend, I simmered the cloves with some potatoes (which I was preparing to mash). Then I roasted them with the chops. They were still hard. Oh well: they added some of their flavour to the sauce.

Next time, I shall simmer the cloves until I am sure that they are yielding.

You can roast/steam whole heads of garlic in foil packages. But be prepared to be flexible, allowing a cooking time that might vary between 45 and 90 minutes.

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