Roast garlic to bring out its sweet side

2013-09-13T00:05:00Z Roast garlic to bring out its sweet sideBy ALEXANDRA ECONOMY | For the Love of Food and Health Winona Daily News

Garlic is a popular herb and superstar ingredient that gives a distinct aroma and flavor to food.

It has been used as both food and medicine for thousands of years, dating back to the time of the building of the Egyptian pyramids. Today, garlic is often used for conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Eating garlic frequently also may help protect against cancers.

When shopping for garlic, choose the fresh bulbs over the pre-peeled or pre-chopped jarred garlic as those won’t quite have the flavor of fresh. Look for firm, fresh bulbs with taut papery skin. Store in a cool, dark place.

Garlic imparts its flavor based on how it’s prepared for cooking. Crushing, mincing, slicing or pureeing garlic allows the release of its potent essential oils. Roasting garlic will transform garlic so it has milder, rich, nutty and slightly sweet flavors. Here are simple directions to roasting whole bulbs of garlic.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Peel off any loose, papery skin from garlic bulb.

3. Cut about 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the top of the head of garlic, and place in a small oven-safe baking dish, cut-side up.

4. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake in oven until cut side is lightly browned and cloves are very soft, about 45 to 60 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and allow garlic to cool slightly before squeezing the garlic paste from the cloves. Can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Roasted garlic is extremely versatile. Here are some suggestions:

- Stir into plain soft-style cream cheese or softened butter to be spread on crusty bread.

- Toss into mashed potatoes, tomato sauce, pesto or pizza sauce.

- Strain the leftover garlic-infused oil from the baking dish and use for other recipes.

- Rub over freshly cooked corn-on-the cob.

- Add to a vinaigrette dressing made of one part red wine or balsamic vinegar and two parts olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

- Spread over chicken or beef roast before cooking.

- Stir into olive oil or butter, add a squeeze of lemon and toss with cooked asparagus, mushrooms, carrots or potatoes.

Alexandra Economy is a Winona dietitian.

Roasted Garlic, White Bean & Kale Pizz’alad

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use

Pinch of salt

Prepared pizza dough (12- to 14-inch pizza)

2 heads garlic, roasted

1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed

4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided use

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

8 kale leaves, chopped (about 1 small bunch)

Toss sliced red onion in a bowl with 1 tablespoon oil and salt. Spread on a large baking sheet. Place on the upper rack and roast, stirring once halfway through, until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Roll pizza dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12- to 14-inch circle.

Brush the dough with 1 tablespoon oil. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone. Bake until golden and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, gently squeeze garlic cloves from one head into a food processor (discard skins). Add beans, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, water and pepper; process until smooth.

Gently squeeze cloves from the other head into a large bowl (discard skins). Whisk in soy sauce, the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon oil until combined. Add kale and, with clean hands, firmly squeeze the ingredients together until the leaves break down and the volume has been reduced by about half.

When the crust is done, transfer to a large cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Spread the bean paste over the pizza. Top with the kale salad and the roasted onions. Makes 5 servings.

Per serving: 400 calories, 13 grams fat (2 grams saturated, 9 grams monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 64 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram added sugars, 14 grams protein, 8 grams fiber, 569 milligrams sodium, 629 milligrams potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (165 percent daily value), vitamin C (125 percent daily value), folate (41percent daily value), iron (34 percent daily value), potassium (18 percent daily value).

Source: Adapted from Eating Well Inc.

Roasted Garlic & Asparagus Salad

2 heads garlic, roasted

1/4 cup minced fresh chives

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic cloves

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 bunches asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped

For roasted garlic/lemon juice mixture: Gently squeeze garlic cloves from the skins into a dish (discard skins). Add chives and chopped garlic. Swirl in lemon juice.

Peel the tough outer layer off the bottom half of asparagus stalks, if desired. Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with lemon zest, salt and pepper. Roast, shaking the pan halfway through, until the asparagus is just tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Divide the warm asparagus among 6 plates. Top each portion with about 2 tablespoons roasted garlic/lemon juice mixture and 1 generous tablespoon walnuts. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 154 calories, 13 grams fat (2 grams saturated, 6 grams monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 9 grams carbohydrates, no added sugars, 4 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, 206 milligrams sodium, 268 milligrams potassium. Nutrition bonus: folate (31 percent daily value), vitamin C (25 percent daily value), vitamin A (17 percent daily value).

Source: Adapted from Eating Well Inc.

Roasted Garlic Aioli

1 small head garlic, roasted

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Squeeze the roasted garlic pulp into a small bowl. Add mayonnaise, rosemary, ground pepper and kosher salt. Stir and gently mash together, leaving large pieces of garlic intact to create a chunky sauce.

Serve with sirloin steaks, grilled salmon or as a delicious sandwich spread. Makes 4 servings (about 1-1/2 tablespoons each).

Source: Adapted from Eating Well Inc.

Copyright 2015 Winona Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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