This time of year, I am always on the look out for good party food. The summer seems to consist of a never-ending stream of barbecues, last minute gatherings, and days at the lake – so I like to have an arsenal of relatively quick and easy recipes that are good for a crowd.
I am sure I’ve mentioned that I am a huge fan of garlic a million times over. I rarely cook anything that doesn’t involve it in some way, and I am even happier when garlic is a predominant flavor in whatever I’m cooking or eating. Given this, it is sort of surprising that I’ve never made a garlic dip before; but, now that I HAVE, you can rest assured that I won’t be going long without it again.
For those of you that are not garlic fans, let me just tell you that roasted garlic is NOTHING like raw garlic. Roasting the garlic takes away all of those sharp, pungent notes, and replaces them with a soft, sweet, nutty flavor that is out of this world. Point being: if you are not a raw garlic fan, don’t be afraid to try roasted garlic. I think you’ll love it.
Roasted Garlic Dip
serves 10-12 as an appetizer
2 whole heads of garlic
2-3 T olive oil
8 ounces cream cheese, whipped is preferable (I used low-fat, whipped)
4 ounces Asiago cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream (low-fat is fine; you can also use greek yogurt instead)
6 T heavy cream
small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
pinch each of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1.) Start by roasting your garlic. Preheat your oven to 400°. Take each head of garlic, and carefully cut the top 1/2″ or so off of the entire head, so that the tips of all the cloves have been cut off. Side note: you’re going to want your knife to be pretty sharp to do this, so that you’re not attempting to saw through a bumpy and uneven head of garlic. (Crist, please sharpen your knives.)
2.) Lay a sheet of foil in the bottom of a baking dish, and place the garlic heads cut side up on the foil. Drizzle the heads with 2-3 T of olive oil, and then gather the corners of the foil together to create a little pouch. Stick the baking dish in the oven, and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until the garlic is golden brown and very soft.
3.) Let the garlic cool until you are able to comfortably handle it. Remove the garlic cloves from their skin by simply squeezing them out.
4.) Once you’ve removed all the cloves, chop them up very finely (they don’t really require too much work – since they’re super soft, they just sort of work themselves into a paste, rather than tiny little pieces). Place the roasted garlic paste into a bowl.
5.) To the garlic, add your cream cheese, sour cream (or greek yogurt), shredded Asiago cheese, heavy cream, salt and pepper, and combine everything well. Spread the mixture into a small baking dish, or an 8″ pie pan, and top with the shredded mozzarella.
6.) Bake at 375° until the mozzarella is melted, and the edges are brown and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.
For serving, I toasted up baguette slices (sprayed with a bit of olive oil before going into a 350° oven for 10 minutes, so they’d get nice and golden brown), and we just spread the dip onto the bread. You could also serve it with pita chips, vegetable crudite, or tortilla chips.
This dip was a HUGE hit. It is rich, and creamy, with just enough nuttiness from the garlic and salt from the asiago cheese to keep it from being overly heavy. The more I think about it, the more I think this mixture would make a great stuffing for chicken, too… perhaps I’ll try that soon?
Roasted garlic is the nectar of the gods,