Garlic can enhance all sorts of dishes and has some health benefits. A garlic-rich diet helps boost your body's production of antioxidant compounds and may lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, notes "The New York Times." Roasting garlic tempers its intense taste and makes it readily spreadable. This means you can spread it on bread. Or, add the roasted garlic to meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and herb pastes where the less intense taste won't overpower other flavors. While whole garlic bulbs are often roasted unpeeled, it's even easier to roast and work with pre-peeled individual cloves.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Give the oven at least 20 minutes to reach this temperature.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the peeled garlic cloves in the middle of the foil. Drizzle a light coating of cooking oil over the cloves.
Sprinkle salt on liberally and freshly cracked black pepper to taste to enhance the flavor. Season the garlic cloves to taste with herbs and spices, if you like. For kick, add some cayenne or chipotle pepper powder, Cajun seasoning mix or curry powder. Dried oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, tarragon or basil work well, too. Choose seasonings to complement the food you're using the roasted garlic with.
Fold up the foil around the pile of cloves and seal it closed tightly around them. This locks in steam during cooking to help soften them.
Put the baking sheet into the oven and roast the garlic for 45 to 60 minutes. Cooking time varies with the size and number of cloves, but you should cook them until they're soft and easily mashed.