Savory holiday treat: rosemary garlic spread with gorgonzola

Ellie Newell

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My family has a thing about garlic. I don’t just mean that we use garlic often. I mean that, for my typical birthday dinner, we use about three heads of garlic for three people.

A few years ago my family made one of our favorite dishes for Christmas Eve dinner. This dish involves consuming entire heads of garlic, baked in white wine and rosemary, topped with melting Gorgonzola, smeared on delicious ciabatta. Are you salivating yet?

The problem with that particular year is that instead of sharing one head of garlic among my sister, two parents and I, we prepared four heads of garlic.

I was raised in a Methodist Church. If you’re not familiar with Methodists, you should know that they sing pretty much the entire service. The Christmas Eve service is no exception. In fact, Christmas Eve at my parents’ church is almost entirely singing, with a brief breather to tell the Nativity story.

So it was especially terrible when my entire family showed up to church smelling of garlic. No, smelling is too weak a word. Positively reeking of garlic. Despite multiple teeth-brushings, our breath smelled of that sweet yet odiferous vegetable. Not ideal for caroling. But more than that, our skin had taken on a pungent quality that would stick with us for several days.

We slunk into the back of the church and immediately a large family with several squirmy small children sitting near us caught a whiff of my aromatic family and actually moved away from us. I couldn’t make this stuff up. It was a beautiful moment. Needless to say, during the most attended church service of the year, when St. Paul’s is stretched to capacity and people crowd into the pews and stand in the back, my family had an empty ring around us akin to the exclusion zone around Chernobyl.

Fortunately, my family is still welcome at church. And on the plus side, we were safe from vampires all the way until New Year’s.

I was a bit hesitant to tell this story when in fact this baked garlic dish is absolutely delicious. I encourage you all to give this recipe a try and share it with your loved ones this holiday season, but maybe not before heading out for an evening of caroling.

Rosemary-Scented Garlic Spread with Gorgonzola:

Take a head of garlic and remove most of the husk from the outside without breaking it into its individual cloves. Slice the top of the head with a sharp knife, maybe the top half inch, exposing the tops of the cloves. Place it in an oven-safe dish and pour a 2:1 mixture of chicken broth and white wine and a dash of olive oil into the dish until the garlic is halfway submerged in liquid. Place a few sprigs of rosemary in the liquid mixture and bake covered at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the garlic becomes soft. Fish out the rosemary and replace with fresh rosemary leaves. Place a generous slab of Gorgonzola on top of the garlic, re-cover, and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is pleasantly melted. Remove the dish from the oven, cool slightly and serve while still warm with ciabatta or another similar artisan bread. The garlic cloves can be separated with a butter knife and smooshed onto the bread while the broth makes a delicious dip. Â ¡Buen provecho!+

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