I’ve got a quick and easy recipe for you today: Roasted Garlic Oil. I started making garlic oil several years ago after watching a number of Nigella Express episodes. That’s the series where she starts every. single. savory recipe with garlic oil and scissor-snipped scallion. Although this seemingly forced simplicity bothered me at first (I don’t mind chopping garlic and onions), I decided to give garlic oil a try, because hey, I love the Nigella. I mean really. I could watch her all day long.
My garlic oil experimentation had simple beginnings. Simmer some garlic in olive oil for a short time, steep, strain, done! Over the years, I’ve tweaked my process, amping up the flavor with toasted black peppercorns and fresh thyme. I also upped the cooking time and temperature to avoid that whole botulism thing. The resulting Roasted Garlic Oil is incredibly fragrant and flavorful.
If a recipe calls for chopped/minced garlic, I still like to use chopped/minced garlic. This infused oil comes in handy when my time is short, and I am looking to add a subtle garlic flavor to my recipe. For example, I’ll often use this Roasted Garlic Oil when I’m cooking eggs in the morning. Even I couldn’t imagine chopping garlic at 6am. I also like to use this oil in a vinaigrette quickly shaken up before work. Add 2 tablespoons Roasted Garlic Oil to a jar with a scant tablespoon of sherry vinegar, a dab of Dijon, 2 pinches of salt and lots of black pepper. Cap, shake, done. But really, you could use this oil in any way you’d like. So simple. So versatile. Continue reading for the recipe (plus an animated gif!).
- 3 heads of garlic, cut in half widthwise
- 2 cups olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted black peppercorns
- Preheat the oven to 300°F and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Place garlic halves cut side down in a small baking dish. Add olive oil, thyme, and peppercorns. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil, then transfer to the oven. Cook until the garlic is tender and golden (about 1 hour).
- Let the oil cool a bit, then strain into a clean container. Don't discard the garlic! Press the soft cloves from the paper, and enjoy as is or with eggs, chicken, steak or lamb. Discard peppercorns and thyme.
- Roasted Garlic Oil can be stored at room temperature for several months. Test for freshness by smelling the oil. Smell it at the beginning, and you'll notice that the oil has a sweet garlic aroma. If that smell fades away or sours, discard the oil. Store roasted garlic cloves in the refrigerator for up to a month.
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