Start to Finish: 1 hour 15 minutes total; 10 minutes hands-on
Servings: approximately 8
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Deeply aromatic and rich, garlic oil is one of those simple ingredients that can pull a whole meal together. Homemade garlic-infused olive oil is safe if you use it right away. But because botulism -- a deadly source of food poisoning -- thrives in homemade garlic oil, careful storage is critical.
- 4 to 6 garlic cloves
- 1 cup olive oil
While 4 to 6 garlic cloves will give your oil strong garlic flavor without being overpowering, you can use as many or as few cloves as you want. Use only 1 or 2 to give your oil just a hint of garlic flavor.
Baking the garlic releases its flavor, but if you're pressed for time, you may opt to add raw garlic to oil.
Roast the Garlic
Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with foil.
Cut off one end of each garlic clove. Don't remove the peels. Place the cloves on the baking sheet and drizzle them with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
You may also roast an entire head of garlic at once. Slice off the bottom of the bulb to reveal the ends of all the cloves. Place the bulb cut-side up on the baking sheet before adding the oil.
Roast the garlic for about 20 to 30 minutes, or 30 to 40 minutes for a full bulb, until soft. Let the garlic cool for about 5 minutes, then squeeze the softened garlic out of the peels.
Infuse the Oil
Mash the softened garlic with a fork. If you're using fresh cloves, finely mince them. Add the garlic to a small saucepan. Pour the oil over it and stir.
Warm the oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until it starts to bubble. Remove it from the heat and let it cool for about 30 minutes. You may leave the garlic pieces in the oil or remove them with a fine mesh strainer.
If you're not going to use the oil right away, pour it into a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate it for up to 3 days. This oil may also be frozen in glass jars or plastic food storage containers for several months. When you're ready to use the stored oil, let it come to room temperature and use it immediately.
Garlic can carry the bacteria C. botulinum. Storing it in an oxygen-free environment -- such as a sealed container of oil -- encourages that bacteria to grow into botulism. Refrigeration slows that growth somewhat, which is why you can safely chill this oil for a short time. Never store garlic oil at room temperature.
Uses for Garlic Oil
- Add cracked black pepper, salt, grated Parmesan and a pinch of red pepper flakes to a bowl of oil. Dip chunks of Italian bread into it.
- Drizzle the oil into a bowl of pasta, roasted vegetables or any soup that contains garlic.
- Make garlic bread or croutons. Brush bread slices with the oil and broil them for 1 to 2 minutes, until the bread turns golden brown.
- Coat vegetables, potato chunks and chicken breasts with the oil before roasting them.