You've come across a recipe asking for a Head of garlic halved crosswise. Well, let's help you understand this phenomenon. First, Garlic is a versatile and flavorful ingredient that is used in numerous recipes.
Depending on the dish you are making, there are different methods you can use to prepare and peel the head of garlic.
Most of these methods are all about getting the cloves out of the head of garlic. However, you may not want to remove the garlic from the head in all instances.
I’ll be the first to admit that the first time I came across a recipe requiring me to halve garlic crosswise, I was super confused.
I had no idea what it meant as I had never done it before. I also didn’t understand why it was important to halve garlic crosswise. Honestly, I thought I just needed to cut garlic in half.
If you are in the same position that I was, this article was meant for you.
We will discuss all the important details you need to know when it comes to halving garlic crosswise.
Why does the recipe require you to halve head of garlic crosswise?
Most recipes that ask you to halve the head of garlic crosswise have roasting as part of the cooking process. The recipes often indicate that halving the head of garlic crosswise is necessary.
Note that when you halve the head of garlic crosswise, the roasting process is much easier. It is important that you drizzle oil on the garlic that remains exposed after halving, then wrap the garlic with foil.
When you roast the halved garlic at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 40 minutes, the center of the garlic becomes soft.
Additionally, the garlic will have a caramelized flavor and be golden brown in color.
Roasted garlic has several uses. You can mash it and add it to various dishes including casseroles, soups, sauces, hummus, salad dressing, and baba ganoush. You can also use it as a spread on its own.
As you can see, roasted garlic is a versatile ingredient. It would be best if you cut garlic crosswise before roasting as it gives you the best results.
How to cut the head of garlic crosswise
The first instinct that most people have when it comes to garlic is to peel off the skin before use.
There are various methods you can use to easily peel off garlic skin. I have come across several tips and tricks that make the skin loosen and peel off faster.
Not that to cut the head of garlic crosswise, you should not peel off the skin. The skin plays a significant role in keeping the head of garlic intact.
Halving the head of garlic crosswise is quite simple. All you need to do is horizontally slice through the head of garlic. Since you did not remove the garlic skin beforehand the chances are that it will flake and some of it will fall off.
You can remove the loose skin, but be careful not to peel the whole garlic. Remember that the skin acts as a binding agent for all the cloves.
I highly recommend using a sharp paring knife or chef’s knife so that the cutting process is not too messy. Note that the knife should be sharp enough to slice through the garlic the same way a hot knife cuts through butter.
Since cutting garlic crosswise can be a bit challenging, always go for fresh garlic. Fresh garlic is easier to cut through.
You should also choose garlic that has its skin intact and feels heavy when you balance it on your hand. If garlic feels light, the chances are that it is not fresh.
While having the garlic head crosswise, be sure to tightly hold it in your hand. You also should not cut it toward your hand because you can easily hurt yourself.
This technique comes in very handy in cooking, especially if you are preparing the garlic for roasting. I love how I can easily work with roasted garlic in a variety of dishes.
I particularly love using it as a spread on flat Italian bread and crackers. My sauces also taste way better with some roasted garlic in them.
Most people learn how to halve garlic crosswise because they need to roast it. Roasting caramelizes the garlic flavor and makes it a delicious veggie as it is.
Garlic head halved crosswise can be roasted in the oven or on the grill. I prefer roasting mine in the oven.
To roast garlic, you need the entire bulb. Additionally, you need the skin intact. You should cut the garlic crosswise to expose individual bulbs.
I have come across a few recipes that require me to only cut ½ inch of the top of the bulb.
Here is how to roast garlic cut crosswise.
- Lay an oven-safe dish or tray with a piece of aluminum foil.
- On the lined dish or tray, place the garlic you halved crosswise face down.
- Drizzle olive oil on the bulb, ensuring that it is well-coated. Note that the bulb should not soak in olive oil, it should just be coated.
- Add pepper and salt to taste. This step is optional because when roasted, garlic is quite flavorful on its own. Therefore, there may be no need for salt and pepper.
- Use the aluminum foil to wrap the bulb, then bake the garlic at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. You mustn’t bake the garlic for more than 40 minutes. If you do, it will lose all its nutrients and healthy enzymes.
- Once the 40 minutes elapse, remove the dish/ tray from the oven and let the garlic cool before you eat it.
Note that if you choose to grill the garlic, do not place the bulbs on an open flame. If you do, the garlic will become charred in just a few seconds.
For perfectly roasted garlic, you can invest in a garlic roaster.
Why roasted garlic?
There are many reasons why people love garlic. Here are a few
- It is versatile. As discussed above, you can use garlic in a variety of dishes. It adds an amazing flavor to the dishes it is added to.
- It is easy on the stomach. I have never had a stomach upset after eating roasted garlic.
- It does not have a sharp flavor. Instead, it adds depth and sweetness to dishes.
- It is a delicious vegetable on its own.
Tips that will come in handy
- To get the best out of garlic, you need to store them properly. Store garlic in a dark, dry place. Additionally, you should ensure that there is enough air circulation. Another option would be to store garlic inside your refrigerator. Just be sure to use it as soon as you remove it from the refrigerator.
- Like most vegetables, garlic quickly loses nutrients and flavor once you cut it. Therefore, I highly recommend that you only cut when you are ready to roast or use it in your cooking.
- Do not throw away garlic that starts sprouting. Instead, plant in a pot and let it go. This may be the only chance you have to get truly fresh garlic. You can also use the shoots the same way you use chives. Your dish will have a subtle garlic flavor.
Cutting garlic crosswise is not complicated the way most people assume it is.
In fact, it is a shortcut since you do not spend a lot of time peeling and chopping the garlic cloves.
If you have never roasted garlic before, this is also your cue to try. It may become a favorite in your house the way it is in mine.