up your flavors with a taste of roasted garlic. Here,
lentil and roasted garlic soup.
one of those subzero Minnesota evenings that this eternal
winter handed us in soul-crushing abundance.
attempt to bright-side the weather — look, it’s a starry
night — my husband and I decided to pile on the Thinsulate
and walk the 11 blocks to dinner. By the time we arrived at
the 128 Cafe, we were proceeding at a brisk pace and
questioning our sanity.
inside, we managed to warm ourselves — psychologically,
anyway — on the retro coziness of the restaurant’s
knotty pine walls. To thaw out our appetites, we turned to
what might be the ultimate in cold-weather comfort: roasted
build-it-yourself crostini featuring roasted garlic has been
a 128 staple for as long as I can remember, surviving
several changes in ownership. That includes last year’s
sale to chef Max Thompson, who has retained — and subtly
improved — a handful of 128 classics, including that
fragrant roasted garlic.
the tips of our knives, we coaxed out one clove after
another, liberally spreading them on thin spears of grilled
bread, then adding a swipe of tangy chevre, skinny snips of
tart apple and dollops of a sweet-hot chutney of peppers and
each bite, I could feel myself relaxing from winter’s
grip. Replicating the dish at home immediately shot to the
top of my cooking to-do list.
came the cookbooks. Turning to four of my steadfast kitchen
library gurus — Marcus Samuelsson, Mark Bittman, Deborah
Madison and Martha Stewart — I cobbled together a strategy
that borrows elements from each of them. Here goes:
the oven to 300 degrees. Rub off most but not all of the
garlic’s outer papery skins, leaving enough to hold cloves
a serrated knife, cut off the top ½ inch from the bulb,
exposing the tops of the cloves (some recipes call for
leaving the bulb whole, but pre-cutting makes it easier to
handle the garlic post-roasting, with minimal difference in
the final outcome).
garlic in a shallow baking pan and drizzle with 1 teaspoon
extra-virgin olive oil per garlic bulb. Add 2 tablespoons
water to the bottom of the pan, and if you have a sprig or
two of fresh thyme, toss it in.
with aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the
aluminum foil and roast for 15 to 20 minutes more, until the
cloves are pliable and slightly browned.
from the oven and allow the garlic to cool until it can be
easily handled. Cloves can be squeezed from the bulb or
removed with a knife.
was the time to follow Thompson’s example, crostini-wise.
cheese and baguette? Check. We were out of apples, but a
crisp pear proved a fine substitute. Too time-pressed (OK,
too lazy) to prepare chutney myself, I decided to take my
chances with our refrigerator’s condiments inventory,
rooting out an apple-peach-apricot chutney. Success.
then, I’ve discovered that the uses for roasted garlic are
limitless. Substitute its mellow richness for raw in sauces,
salad dressings and mashed potatoes. Or soups, such as the
the walk home on that frigid February night, we didn’t.
Our dinner companions gave us a lift, although we probably
could have hoofed it, because that garlic was warming us
from the inside out.
Use only firm, smooth garlic. Avoid soft, shriveled bulbs or
bulbs with sprouts.
average size garlic bulb yields roughly 2 to 3 tablespoons
store, wrap the roasted cloves tightly in plastic wrap and
refrigerate for up to 3 days.
longer that garlic roasts, the mellower — and sweeter,
even slightly nuttier — it becomes.
like leeks and onions, is a member of the allium (lily)
family. Its pungent scent originates in alliinase, an enzyme
that "asserts itself when cell walls inside the garlic
cloves are cut or crushed," writes Leanne Kitchen in
"The Produce Bible." "The more finely the
garlic is cut, the more of this sulfurous compound gets
released, which has distinct consequences for cooking with
garlic. Heat destroys alliinase so the longer you cook
garlic, and the higher the heat it is cooked at, the milder
the resulting flavor."
AND ROASTED GARLIC SOUP
about 12 cups.
French lentils are the small green variety. Any could be
used in this soup.
whole head garlic
teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
tablespoons unsalted butter
large Spanish onion, chopped
celery ribs, chopped
carrots, peeled and chopped
teaspoons dried rosemary
teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pound French lentils (see Note), rinsed and picked over to
(28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and diced
tablespoons tomato paste
tablespoon balsamic vinegar
teaspoon freshly minced garlic
cup freshly chopped Italian parsley
the oven to 300 degrees. Rub off most but not all of garlic’s
outer papery skins. Using a serrated knife, cut off the top
1/2 inch from the bulb. Place garlic in a shallow baking pan
and drizzle with olive oil. Add 2 tablespoons water to
bottom of pan, cover with aluminum foil and roast for 30
minutes. Remove aluminum foil and roast for an additional 15
to 20 minutes, until cloves are pliable and slightly
browned. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle,
remove cloves from skin and purée in a food processor or
blender; reserve until ready to use.
in a large stockpot over medium heat, melt butter. Add
onion, celery and carrots and sweat until tender, about 4
rosemary, bay leaves, salt and pepper and stir to coat
lentils, vegetable stock, tomatoes and tomato paste.
Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to
low, partially cover and simmer for 1 hour, until lentils
in puréed roasted garlic, vinegar and fresh garlic. Simmer
for 2 minutes to heat through.
serve, remove bay leaves, ladle soup into bowls and top with
"The Daily Soup" by Leslie Kaul, Bob Spiegel,
Carla Ruben and Peter Siegel.)