Braised fresh garlic

Here’s a recipe for the summer crop of garlic arriving at the market. Slowly braised, new garlic becomes soft as butter, and tastes nutty and sweet. As fresh garlic cures in the coming weeks, the bulb’s protective covering will gradually become drier, and the cloves a little less creamy.

Braised fresh garlic

  • 4 fat bulbs of fresh hardneck garlic with stems
  • 1 Tbs. butter, plus extra 1 tsp. for brushing
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbs. each white wine and water
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano or thyme

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut stems off whole garlic bulbs and trim root. Peel away the outer layer of skin covering bulbs – leave innermost layer to hold bulb together.

Rinse and slice each garlic bulb clean in half, from neck to root-end.  Put a generous tablespoon of butter in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold garlic halves in one layer. Put dish in oven to melt butter. Arrange garlic halves cut-side up in the dish and season with salt and pepper.

Turn garlic halves cut-side down, season, and brush tops with butter in pan. Add wine and water and tuck in oregano or thyme sprigs. Lay cooking parchment, cut to the shape and size of the dish, right on top of garlic, then cover dish with a lid or foil.  Slide into the oven for half an hour.

Remove cover and parchment and brush garlic with a little more soft butter. Slide dish back in the oven and cook uncovered for another half hour or until liquid is absorbed and garlic is nicely burnished, watching that it doesn’t stick or burn. (Add small spoonfuls of water if necessary.)

Serve as an accompaniment to grilled meat or fish. Or serve as a first course: remove hardneck and bits of tough skin and spread soft cloves, like thick butter, on rounds of toasted baguette. For 4 or more, depending on how much garlic you like.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *