4 min read

Garlic Secrets

I have a garlic secret.

You know those dinner boxes? The subscription ones where they show up once a month and they give you Ingredients so you can make meals? Every time a recipe in one of those things calls for garlic, they give you a whole fucking head of garlic. And then the recipe calls for like, half a whisper of garlic, so even if you quadruple the amount you use, you still wind up with a lot of garlic just sitting around, quietly sprouting in your kitchen.

Unless you're me.

Because I have a secret trick.

Step 1: Save all the garlic. I do this by putting it into a tupperware in the freezer. I'm sure there is a garlic purist out there in the world who is like OH NO DON'T DO THAT IT'LL RUIN THE IBU METRICS or something, but whatever. My intentions for this garlic aren't pure, so it doesn't matter to me if the cell structure is disrupted by the freezing process. Then, when it's time to engage in Garlic Crimes, I just leave the tupperware out for a day so everyone can thaw.

Step 2: Slice off one end of the garlic. It's crucial here to cut off the end with the papery stem, rather than the end with the fucked-up little knobbly crust. Looks don't matter here, so I use a serrated knife because it's a little easier to get through the paper on the outside of the garlic that way, but hey, follow your truth.

(It's also apparently crucial to chip off almost all of your nail polish in a fit of Book Anxiety. Feel free to judge me for that thumb. I deserve it.)

Step 3: Make a little nest for your garlic in a square of foil. Mold the foil tightly around the garlic, leaving the top open, so that there's a good snug seal around your lil' allium buddy.

Step 4: Cram Some Butter In There. Completely obscure the exposed garlic cross-sections with butter. Smash it down a little, just enough that it would be tricky to remove cleanly. This is why the tight seal around the sides of the bulb is important: you don't want butter running down the outside of the garlic. You only want butter running down the inside of the garlic.

Step 5: Make a little pineapple. Twist the foil completely shut, then add a second later of foil over it and do the same thing. Don't skip the double-layering. You'll want to, but then bad things will happen and you'll be thinking to yourself "oh no, I should have double-layered the foil!" Save yourself that step.

Step 6: Pack all your little pineapples into a loaf pan. There are 7 of them in this photo. They should be packed tightly enough that they're not at risk of tipping over - they need to stay upright throughout this entire process, so the butter goes where it's wanted.

Stick those boys into a 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes, then pull the pan out and leave it sitting on top of the oven for a few hours - at least long enough to make dinner, eat dinner, watch a TV show, get into a really in-depth conversation about heterosexual appropriation of queer memes, fall asleep on the couch, wake up disoriented, and stumble back into the kitchen yelling "oh no, my garlic!" By that time, everything should be at room temperature; stick the whole thing in the fridge without taking the garlic out of the pan or opening the foil at all.

The next morning, this is what you'll have: a whole bulb of roasted garlic, saturated with butter, ready to burst out of its skin. Every hollow place in each clove of garlic is now filled with solidified garlic-butter. It's yours. It's all yours.

Last step: Trim the excess frills off the foil. Don't unwrap that second layer – there's going to be a little bit of runoff butter inside and you're better off leaving the mess contained.

Then, pop all of the roasted heads of garlic into a tupperware and put them back in the freezer. This will make the paper separate fully from the cloves, and it will also keep the butter too solid to get all over your fingers whenever you touch it. Once that's done, you have roasted garlic whenever you need it: just unwrap a bulb, squeeze gently at the base, and a clove will pop right out. Those roasted cloves melt like butter in a hot pan, adding quick and obnoxiously tasty flavor to literally anything. You can also thaw a whole bulb and spread the cloves over toasted bread (a good thing to do.)

Bonus campfire hack: Before you go camping, prep a bunch of garlic exactly this same way. Then leave the foil-wrapped bulbs on the coolest section of a grate over your campfire all night long. The slow heat and woodsmoke will leave you with heads of smoked roasted garlic, which adds an even more complex flavor to whatever you put it in.