In my first Front Burner column back in 2009 I told readers you'll always find garlic and lemons in my pantry. This is still true, though you're also likely to always find cumin and chile pepper (fresh, dried, ground and paste).
There was a time when I was what you might call a garlic snob. I only used fresh garlic. Never powdered. And never, ever from a jar.
And while I still don't care much for jarred minced garlic, I keep a tube of garlic paste in the refrigerator for those days when I don't feel like stinking up my fingers peeling and mashing the fresh stuff.
And after discovering roasted garlic powder (I found it at Kroger, but there are lots of brands out there) I always keep a bottle of it handy.
Recently I discovered another convenience product for the garlic lover: vacuum-sealed, peeled, whole cloves. Look for them in the produce department at well-stocked supermarkets.
This product is perfect for dishes like chicken with 40 cloves of garlic or this garlic focaccia.
Easy Roasted-Garlic Focaccia
10 to 15 cloves garlic (see note)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
3 1/4 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose flour, but the bread will be less chewy)
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or to taste
1/2 ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I use a Microplane brand grater for fluffy shavings)
Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Set 4 cloves of garlic aside. Place the remaining cloves on a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle very lightly with salt. Wrap tightly in foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast 30 minutes to 1 hour or until cloves are tender, but not browned. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use.
In a very large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and water. Mix, using a wooden spoon or your hands, until no dry flour remains. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours. The dough will more than double, possibly even quadruple, in bulk.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or other 12-inch round pan. Transfer dough to skillet. Turn to coat in oil. Using your palm, press dough into skillet, coating the dough, and bottom and sides of skillet with oil as you work. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 11/2 to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 500 degrees.
Using your fingers, press dough into skillet, popping any large bubbles, and lifting the edge to let air escape from underneath. Continue until dough is evenly spread in the skillet. Scatter the roasted garlic cloves over the dough, pressing them deep into the surface. (Any cloves that are not submerged will burn.)
Transfer skillet to oven and bake until top is brown and bubbly and bottom appears golden, 16 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, mince the reserved 4 cloves of garlic. Combine the minced garlic with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a small skillet set over medium-low heat. Add the oregano and red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant and garlic is just beginning to brown. Remove from heat.
Spread or pour the garlic butter mixture over baked focaccia and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Transfer bread to a board to cool slightly before cutting.
Note: Can substitute 1 whole head garlic. To roast it, cut off the pointed end to expose the cloves. Drizzle with oil and roast as directed. Once cool, squeeze the cloves from the papery skins.
Makes about 8 servings.
Recipe adapted from seriouseats.com
Food on 04/19/2017
Print Headline: Try garlic shortcut for focaccia recipe