These slow-cooked cloves of garlic lend a more muted flavor to a dish than raw or even quickly sautéed garlic. And the garlic-scented oil is equally valuable.
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
12 fresh thyme sprigs
8 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
3 bay leaves, bruised
Preheat the oven to 350F
In a medium baking dish, combine the olive oil, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. The garlic should be completely covered by about 1" of oil.
Bake until the garlic cloves are soft fragrant, and lightl ed but still hold their shape, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months, completely covered with olive oil to prevent air from reaching them.