Cutting garlic may seem complicated and messy, but they are worth the taste! Apparently, you can chop garlic in several ways, each with its own purpose.
I learned that one of the popular ways to make garlic is by roasting them, but you need to slice it in half crosswise. So, if you are wondering what it means or how you are supposed to do it, please read on!
I’ll share detailed steps of making the head of garlic halved crosswise and ways you can use them!
Picking the Right Garlic
Before I start with the steps, it’s crucial to pick good garlic.
You see, garlic is quite flavourful, but choosing the right one can significantly enhance your dish’s taste. So, let’s see a few key characteristics of fresh garlic that you should buy when you go grocery shopping.
There are two main types of garlic that are available in the market, which are as follows:
Hardneck garlic grows in harsh climatic conditions of winter in the northern regions. Their size is typically bigger than the regular garlic you see in the market.
What I like about this garlic is they have firmer skins that are easy to peel and have uniform-shaped cloves.
You will get around 6 to 8 cloves in one bulb (head). Although they are flavourful, sadly, their shelf life is short. They last approximately 3 to 5 months after harvesting.
The three main subcategories of hard neck garlic are:
- Purple stripe
Softneck garlic is grown in mild weather conditions, usually in the southern part of the US. They are grown all year and contain 12-24 cloves in one head.
Their clove shape is not uniform, and flaky peels are tough to remove, unlike hard-neck garlic. However, they are a favorite household ingredient!
To check if the garlic is fresh, press it a little to see its firmness. They are not fresh if they are soft, or their cloves are not enclosed.
What Does Cutting Garlic Halved Crosswise Mean?
A lot of recipes ask you to cut garlic halved crosswise, but what does it mean?
It’s simple. It’s to chop the garlic from the top head side. That’s it? Yes, but you need to keep a few things in mind before cutting them.
How to Make Head of Garlic Halved Crosswise
Now, let’s see how you can make the garlic head halved crosswise. It would be wise to use a sharp knife to cut the garlic since it still has the peels on.
Generally, recipes that ask you to make roasted garlic will say cut garlic crosswise.
I would highly suggest bringing fresh garlic. The ones firm on touching a little heavy indicate they are fresh! You can also check if the bulb is well intact and not loose.
Why does the recipe require you to halve the head of garlic crosswise?
A lot of people ask me, is there a particular reason why we are supposed to slice garlic crosswise? Well, yes.
To roast unpeeled garlic, the best way is to chop off its head and bake them so that you can squeeze out its delicious caramelized cloves after it’s cooked.
Let’s look at the steps so that it becomes clear to you.
How to cut the head of garlic crosswise
Place the garlic so that the point ends of the cloves are on each side and the stalk (head) is on the other. Luckily, you do need to peel the skin as it will act as a bind to the cloves (helps to trap heat within).
The shape of the cut will be like cutting onion rings. So, chop a little below the stalk so you can cut a tiny part of the cloves. Do not cut from the center since you will lose a lot of garlic that way.
After doing so, you’ll get many half-cut flakes. Remove or cut shabby peels from the inside and keep the outer peel as it is.
There you have it! Your crosswise garlic is ready to be cooked.
Like I said before, roasted garlic requires a crosswise cut, so let’s see how to cook them to get beautifully caramelized garlic.
Here is how to roast garlic cut crosswise
- Place the garlic on a baking dish or pie pan with tin foil, so the chopped part faces up.
- Add one teaspoon or a light drizzle of olive oil (avoid soaking the garlic with olive oil)
- Then sprinkle some salt and pepper according to your preference
- After that, fold the foil but do not let the foil cover the garlic, or else it may stick and burn.
- Bake this at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for around 40-45 minutes.
- Let it cool for some time.
- Gently squeeze out the soft roasted cloves and remove the flakes.
Tip: If you do not like a mess, then it’s best to roast peeled garlic. More about it is below!
How to roast peeled garlic?
Don’t like wasting garlic or hate the mess it makes? The peeled version of roasting will certainly appeal to you! (See what I did there?)
- Take the required amount of garlic and peel its skin completely
- Line a tray or dish with tin foil and lay the cloves in the center.
- Add some olive oil but lightly
- Sprinkle salt and pepper
- Fold the foil and seal it well so that the heat traps well
- Avoid sticking the foil to the garlic, or else it may stick and burn, so maintain a small gap in them
- Bake this at 350 Fahrenheit for 35-60 minutes
You can check the garlic in intervals of 10 minutes and roast them according to your liking. Depending on the batch size, it will take more than 40 minutes if you want an intense brown color.
Which roasted garlic is better? Peeled or unpeeled?
Both these methods have pros and cons, so we’ll discuss them so that you can go for the one that is the best for you. If you do not like the peels sticking to the roasted garlic, peel them before baking.
The taste does not differ much in the two ways of roasting. If you cut the garlic crosswise, they can roast faster since heat retains due to the peels and intact cloves.
On the other hand, unpeeled cloves take a little longer, but you do not need to peel them afterward.
So, choose whichever seems convenient to you.
Why roasted garlic?
Roasted garlic has a similar flavor to raw garlic but is soft, sweeter, and not pungent.
You will love its aroma; thank me later 🙂
Also, it can be used for tons of recipes like:
- Salad dressings
So, they are versatile and quick to make! It’s especially good if you have too much garlic, which happens a lot with me.
How to cut head of garlic
Ans: To cut the head of the garlic, hold it horizontally so that the pointy ends of the garlic are on one side. Use a sharp knife and chop the head but aim a little lower, around ¼ inch below the bulb, so that you do not lose much garlic.
How can you tell when garlic goes bad?
Ans: An unpeeled garlic lasts around 6 months, but some signs indicate it has been spoiled. The most common is their color change from white to yellow or brown.
Likewise, if it smells sour or becomes soft on the touch, it means they have gone bad.
How do you store garlic?
Ans: To preserve garlic, you need to store them properly. The ideal way is to place whole head garlic at room temperature and dry, whereas you can place peeled or chopped ones in an airtight bag inside the refrigerator.
However, if you have roasted ones, you need to freeze them.
How many cloves is half a head of garlic?
Ans: Many varieties of garlic are available in the market; hence, the number of cloves differs according to that. Generally, a head of garlic contains 10-12 cloves inside a bulb. If you want more, then you can purchase bigger ones size-wise.
In a nutshell, cutting garlic crosswise barely takes a few seconds; the real task is baking them. It’s best to caramelize the garlic for 40 minutes and keep checking to avoid overcooking. If you overcook them, they will taste bitter.
Pairing roasted garlic with spinach is one of my favorite combinations that you can try as well!