Roasted Garlic Olive Oil
Although not that many pizza recipes end up here on Pixelated Crumb, we do in fact make pizza quite often. Once a week in fact, usually Fridays. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to pizza night, and it’s not just the eating part. Pizza is one of my favorite things to make. The act of pulling out the dough, picking out the toppings, and best of all, watching it transform from some dough with toppings to a golden thing of beauty after only 10 minutes in the oven.
There’s a myriad of wonderful, jazzed up pizzas you can create, but lately we’ve been taking the deliciously easy way out and keeping it simple with just pepperoni and mozzarella. When you’re using Vermont Smoke and Cure pepperoni, you simply cannot go wrong. But there’s one thing that we always, always put on our pizza whether we’re using one topping or several, tomato sauce, pesto, or no sauce at all (like one of our favorites, sweet potato and kale pizza): garlic olive oil. We just brush it all over the dough from edge to edge to give the pizza some oomph, with the added bonus of protecting the dough from getting soggy from any wet toppings.
Until now, we’ve always bought our garlic olive oil, but then all of a sudden we had trouble finding it at the store. Then it dawned on me. Why were we buying it? Couldn’t we just make it? I quickly found a roasted garlic olive oil recipe that I couldn’t wait to try. The only problem? I kept forgetting to make it. Two whole pizzas went by with regular olive oil rather than garlic olive oil. Until this weekend when I couldn’t possibly wait any longer. We bought three enormous heads of garlic and set to work.
Frankly, I can’t believe it took me two weeks to get to this, because it’s so easy! And to say it’s rewarding is an understatement because not only is the oil sweeter, fresher, and considerably tastier than the stuff we had been buying, there’s a added bonus: three entire heads of roasted garlic. If you’ve never had roasted garlic, you are really missing out. Roasting it takes out the harsh bite of garlic, and caramelizes it into a creamy, sweet-savory bite of heaven.
So what can you do with garlic olive oil and roasted garlic? Well, like I said, we’re quite partial to garlic olive oil on our pizza, but it’s also great for salad dressing, sautéing vegetables, drizzling on chicken, dipping your bread into and more. The options are quite endless, just use it any time you think your dish would benefit from some extra garlic. The roasted garlic cloves are amazing on their own (pop one in your mouth and you’ll never think of garlic in the same way), great mashed up and spread on bread, or rubbed under the skin of chicken before roasting. Don’t think you can use all that garlic right away? Mash it up and freeze it in small batches so you always have some on hand when you need some.
What did we do with all our roasted garlic? What we didn’t eat straight up or spread onto bread, we added to our pizza along with garlic olive oil (of course), sauteed mushrooms, grape tomatoes, mozzarella, and feta for a true garlic lovers pizza. Yup, that’s right. The two of us consumed three heads of garlic all in one day. At least we kept the vampires at bay!
Roasted Garlic Olive Oil
Adapted from Epicurious
I used three enormous heads of garlic and wasn't able to cut them all in half perfectly because of the irregularity of the cloves. No big deal, just cut them as best you can and it'll turn out just fine.
Do not be tempted to throw some of those roasted cloves into your container of garlic oil unless you are willing to refrigerate it and use it up within 10 days or freeze it. Unrefrigerated garlic in oil is the perfect breeding ground for C. botulinum bacteria which can't be detected by taste or smell.
Also, don't bother using your expensive extra virgin olive oil here. The heat will cook off all those wonderful nuanced flavors and will taste the same as regular olive oil. In general, it's best to cook with regular olive oil and save extra virgin olive oil for salads and foods that have already been cooked.
- 3 large heads garlic, cut horizontally in half
- 3 cups pure olive oil
- 4 sprigs thyme or rosemary
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Place the garlic heads cut side down in a small casserole or ovenproof pot and pour the olive oil over them. Add the thyme and pepper. Cover with a lid or foil and bake until the garlic is soft enough to mash, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove garlic from the oil and set aside. Strain the oil into a bowl and let cool, then pour into an airtight container. The oil will keep for at least a month.
- To make garlic mash, squeeze the cloves out of their papery husks into a bowl. Mash the roasted garlic with a fork. Store mash in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or freeze it to last much longer.