Roasted Elephant Garlic

Watercolor by Sonny Romeo
Yesterday, Dekalb Farmer's Market had the freshest, nicest looking elephant garlic we had seen in a while. Many people buy elephant garlic simply because of its size. The bulbs are very large and a single bulb can weigh over a pound with a single clove often as large as a whole bulb of ordinary garlic. Interestingly, elephant garlic is not true garlic, but a cousin of the garden leek. The flavor, which is much more similar to garlic than to leeks, is milder than garlic, but not exactly like garlic.

When roasted, elephant garlic is so smooth and mild, you can use as a spread with good crusty bread. Roasting garlic is so easy and so tasty, it makes a simple yet impressive appetizer. I love the way it smells as it is cooking especially on a cold wet day. This is one of Sonny's favorite too!

1-2 heads of garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt

With a very sharp knife, remove just enough of the root end of the garlic bulb to flatten it enough to sit upright. From the more tapered, flower end of the bulb, slice 1/4 to 1/2-inch off the top to reveal the garlic cloves within. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the garlic bulbs upright in a baking dish, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil over the top of the exposed cloves. Season with a touch of salt and pepper, cover with aluminum foil, and roast 30 to 35 minutes, until the garlic cloves take on a rich golden color and the papery covering has begun to brown but has not blackened. Remove from the oven and cool several minutes before serving.