26 September 2007

G.O.O.P.


My grandfather always said of our island retreat in South Carolina, “if you have to ask what there is to do there, then it's not the right place for you.” He meant, of course, that you weren’t supposed to do anything when you were there, there was the beach and the creek, sunrises, sunsets, birds to watch, sea shells to collect, and if that didn’t fill your day up already, a few good books to read.

The area has changed a lot since my family started going there generations ago, the encroachment of chain stores and fast food outlets is painful, but the island is still relatively untouched and standing on the beach looking out the view is the same. We don’t get there nearly as often since my grandparents passed away over a decade ago, and when we do I’m afraid we don’t quite live up to Grandfather’s mantra. We’ve got a laundry list of things to do: visiting friends, swinging in hammocks, renting bikes, eating shrimp and grits and boiled peanuts, looking at alligators in the state park. Don’t get me wrong, we still plan our days around the tide charts, but we also make sure to go to Frank’s restaurant, where we play bocce on the back court and where we always, always order the G.O.O.P. appetizer.


GOOP (it’s name was the kitchen code for garlic olive oil plate) is an addictively delicious plate full of roasted garlic, speckled with olives and capers and herbs. It’s also perfectly easy to make at home, and it’s as simple as it’s acronym suggests. Basically, put some garlic heads in a pan with some olive oil and herbs and capers, cover and roast for about an hour. That’s all, after it’s cooled you can add some olives if you like, and then you get out your baguette and go to work. Dip the bread in the olive oil, use a knife to spread the soft warm garlic over your bread, or fish an olive out with your fingers. Oh, and have you ever had a fried caper? Boy, you’re in for a treat because capers fry up into crunchy, salty explosions of flavor. This was actually a result of a mistake, I’m pretty sure the restaurant adds both capers and olives after roasting, but I accidentally put them in before, the crunchy capers were a delight, the olives not so much.


GOOP, or if you prefer roasted garlic plate, is a great thing for entertaining, not only because it is easy and delicious, but also because it needs a good bit of time to cool down (don’t want to burn anyone with hot oil now). So, toss it in the oven several hours before your guests are going to arrive, then put it on the back burner while you run around for a half hour hoping your guests don’t knock on the door before you’ve gotten dressed. I recommend one head of garlic per person, because people really devour the stuff. I actually love to make this on a night when I just don’t feel like fixing dinner, just a good baguette, maybe some wedges of cheese or fruit, a movie, and a lot of roasted garlic. It’s just the kind of quiet, simple pleasure that I think my grandfather would have approved of.


G.O.O.P. (Favorite Roasted Garlic Plate)
Roasting garlic turns it's flavor soft and mellow and perfect for enjoying on it's own. Any leftover oil can be filtered and reserved. Serves 4.

4-6 heads garlic
1 1/2 cups olive oil
4 sprigs thyme or rosemary
salt and pepper
1 tbl extra-large capers
mixed olives, optional
baguette or country-style bread for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Cut the garlic through the equator to that the tips of the cloves are exposed, discard top bits. Pour the olive oil into a small roasting dish. Add the salt, pepper, thyme, and capers to the oil. Nestle the garlic cut-side down in the dish and cover tightly with foil.
2. Roast the garlic for 45-50 minutes, until the bottoms are well browned and the garlic is soft. Set aside to cool for at least 20 minutes (important! the oil is hot!).
3. To serve: add the olives, if using, and turn the garlic cut side up. Dip your bread in the oil, and scoop out garlic cloves and spread on bread with capers, munch on olives, etc.

15 comments:

Homesick Texan said...

I love the name GOOP--and will call roasted garlic that from now on!

Anonymous said...

That looks delicious... How come you have switched to having partial feeds (instead of full feeds) for those of us who read your blog in an RSS-reader? I miss the full feeds...

myfrenchkitchen said...

I just came back from 2 months in SC..
I am definitely going to try the fried capers, it sounds exciting.
Ronell

Hillary said...

oooh I love when Italian restaurants give you roasted garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil to dip your bread, and this reminds me of it! Soo good!

Ewokgirl said...

Oh, that looks fabulous! Can't wait to try it!

Mercedes said...

Lisa- yay, what a great thought!

Anonymous- (first, thanks for subscribing!) I switched to partial feeds because it helps reduce the chance that another website might "borrow" (a.k.a. steal) my content. I was conficted about it, and I will reconsider switching back...

Ronell- oh, two months, you lucky thing. I hope you got some good low-country cuisine.

Hillary- My friend's sister recently served an appetizer where the grated parmesan was in the olive oil, with garlic and herbs, it was soo good!

ewokgirl- thanks!

Bri said...

Yum GOOP! What a fun name. Roasted garlic is one of my all time fave dishes. There is a restaurant in LA called The Stinking Rose that is all about garlic and serves up a giant elephant garlic when you get seated. I will have to make your recipe. The leftover flavored oil would be awesome too. I'd love to know more about you, Mercedes. If you are interested, tag, you're it. http://figswithbri.com/?page_id=5

Manggy said...

Looks yummy... Something I've always wanted to try, but somehow haven't..

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

I can't resist roasted garlic...being from the Garlic capital! They don't use garlic as much in Italy as I did in America...but this looks good! :)

Mercedes said...

Bri- sounds like a cool restaurant, though I imagine the smell from therre might be overwhelming! I'm really interested in learning about different kinds of garlic, like rocambole garlic, elephant head (which i don't think is technically garlic), etc.

manggy- it's super easy, so I hope you give it a try!

sara- ha, where are you from that's the garlic capital?

stljoie said...

Wow...we roast garlic but this added some new twists. This has been shared with near and dear

Quinne said...

What a lovely post! And the goop looks wonderful :)

Erin said...

I've been reading your blog for a while and really enjoy it. Although you'd alluded to SC, I never realized how close you were to my home - I drive through Pawleys Island on my way to work every day!

Also, met someone once who made a different version of what she called GOOP. Almost a black olive tapenade with roasted garlic and olive oil. Beautiful dark purplish color and VERY YUMMY.... and goopy in texture!

musicalchef said...

Sounds great! I've had something similar before. Roasted garlic is excellent with a side of warm goat cheese, by the way. But then I'm the kind of person who likes cheese with almost everything.

KMDuff said...

I'm definitely going to have to try this recipe. You post many delicious recipes, this one makes my mouth water while reading it/looking at the photos. Mmmm...