Make-ahead Christmas favourite!
Roasted garlic paste has many uses at any time of the year but it’s especially good to have all ready for Christmas dishes. And surprise, surprise – it’s dead easy to make too. I usually roast mine when I’m making something else in the oven like a casserole although you can make it separately too.
- Mash the garlic paste into softened butter (with or without chopped fresh herbs such as parsley) to make the best ever garlic bread, or to sautée pre-cooked vegetables like Brussel sprouts or boiled new potatoes. The butter can be frozen in a small plastic container until you need it.
- Cook wild or cultivated mushrooms in the roasted garlic butter – serve on toasted sourdough.
- Mix the paste with cream cheese and spread on toast.
- Mix the paste with cream as a pasta sauce with fried pancetta and chopped fresh basil or thyme leaves.
- Add a generous spoonful of the paste to soups, stews and gravies to give an extra kick of flavour.
- Mix the paste with a little olive oil to rub into chicken joints before cooking, or the oil drained from a tin of anchovies to rub into joints of lamb before roasting.
Take a couple of whole garlic bulbs and cut in half crosswise as below. Place the bulbs on a large enough sheet of baking foil to create a sealed parcel. Dribble a little olive oil and a little sea salt on the cut sides. Put the garlic halves together and seal up the foil parcel. Roast in the oven at 160C for about an hour until the cloves are soft.
When cooked, allow to cool little and then just squeeze out the roasted cloves into a small dish – this is the culinary equivalent of popping bubblewrap; highly satisfying : ). Mash the paste and either combine it with butter or oil. It will keep for a few days in the fridge. The butter can be frozen successfully – keep it in a plastic pot with a resealable lid (I use recycled supermarket ones that have had things like olives in) or roll it into a log shape and wrap in cling film.