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April 2, 2008
The Remarkable Revelry
of Roasted Garlic
Who doesnt like the implications of the word roasted?
Think, for a second, of the words with which it is normally associated.
Chicken, beef, vegetables . . . the mere attachment of roasted with any
of them is enough to clear the stomach in anticipation of filling with
Attach it to another word
garlic. It does indeed evoke the thoughts of flavor, but the results
are different. And it can lead to delicious bean and vegetable soup.
Roasting garlic starts
with an entire head of garlic. Peel off all of the paper-like shell. Cut
off the top, perhaps a quarter-inch from the top of the cloves. You may
look at the countertop and weep a little, for you have sacrificed some
of one of the Earths little treasures the flavor of garlic. Mourn
your loss, but not for too long. The sacrifice will not be in vain.
Preheat the oven to 400
degrees and then return to the question of how to prepare a head of
garlic for roasting. Take some olive oil and drizzle it over the now
exposed garlic cloves.
Wrap the entire thing in
some tin foil yes, tin foil is a regular accompaniment of roasting
and place it in the oven for about 45 minutes.
The results break down
traditional thinking about roasting. Each clove, if properly cooked,
will be easily mashable with a fork. Most things roasted instead become
somewhat more firm than before roasting.
Each clove will still
have its associated harder shell. Squeeze the roasted garlic into a
bowl. (You could, if there is leftover garlic, squeeze it onto bread as
a vampire-repelling alternative to butter) and mash it with a fork.)
Stir the mashed roasted
garlic into chicken or vegetable broth while you heat it.
As it heats up, chop your
vegetables to pieces big enough for soup. If this needs further
explanation for you, it is perhaps time for you to leave the kitchen and
never return. Yours is a hopeless case.
Which vegetables, you ask
yourself? Here, we suggest a lesson from Mother Hubbard. Empty your
pantry. Or, in your case, probably the crisper drawer in your
refrigerator. Consider also throwing in the kitchen sink.
In case this has sailed
overhead, it means use anything you have cabbage, carrots, celery,
green beans, peas, corn, squash, asparagus . . . anything. Liberally
flavor with herbs rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley.
As the vegetables begin
to soften, add a can of beans. As with the vegetables, anything will do.
In a different pot, boil
elbow macaroni. To do this in the same pot as your vegetables and garlic
broth runs the risk of soaking up too much of the broth and requiring
the infusion of water that might dilute the garlicky qualities. Your
neighborhood vampire might like that, but you will not.
When properly prepared,
add the macaroni to the soup, ladle into bowls and enjoy with a hunk of
bread spread with butter, not garlic (especially sound advice if an
afternoon date is in your future).
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