Walking into Amada in Philadelphia your sense of smell goes into overdrive because the smell of garlic and jamón permeates the air. The distinct smell is unlike any other I’ve ever experienced at any other restaurant. It is here at this Spanish tapas restaurant that I first tried garlic dulce de leche. It was served as part of a cheese course paired with Garrotxa cheese. Let me paint a mental picture to get your tastebuds watering. Creamy caramelized garlic, mellowed by oven roasting, is mixed with sweet rich amber-colored slow cooked condensed milk.
The sweet and savory dulche de leche is then paired with nutty aged cheese; a match made in heaven. Don’t you want to eat it? The best part is I’ve figured out how to recreate it, so you can. It’s almost as simple as putting a head of garlic in the oven, and a can of condensed milk in boiling water. Serve it with cheese and bread or take it a step further and create my Roasted Garlic Dulce De Leche Grilled Cheese sandwich. Making dulche de leche is so simple, even my Dad could make it, and that’s saying something (sorry Dad). All you need is a can of sweetened condensed milk and a pot of boiling water. Three hours later and voilà, it’s done.
The result is a sweet creamy caramel-like sauce. You can serve it over ice cream, bake it into brownies, stuff it into crepes, or serve it on toast like they do in South America. Or better yet, make Roasted Garlic Dulce De Leche. Odds are the sauce will disappear pretty quickly but if you do have left overs, it will keep for weeks chilled in the refrigerator.
ROASTED GARLIC DULCE DE LECHE GRILLED CHEESE
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk, label removed
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 granny smith apple thinly sliced (optional)
- 8 slices sourdough bread
- 6 ounces Garrotxa cheese shredded
- 4 tablespoons butter cut into 8 equal slices and warmed to room temperature
- Place the unopened can of condensed milk on it’s side in a large saucepan and fill with water until the can is covered by a few inches. Place on the stovetop and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to keep the water simmering. Periodically add water to make sure the can remains submerged. After three hours remove the can and set aside to cool. CAUTION — do not open the can while it is hot!
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off the head of the garlic to expose the the garlic cloves (about ¼ inch). Drizzle with olive oil and wrap loosely in tin foil. Place in the oven to cook and remove after 40 minutes or until the garlic has softened and the outer cloves have slightly browned (see my picture)
- Open the can and empty the dulce de leche to a bowl. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out into a strainer and push the garlic through with a metal spoon into the bowl with dulce de leche. Add a pinch of salt and stir to combine.
- Spread a generous amount of roasted garlic dulce de leche on four slices of bread (about one tablespoon). Layer on a single layer of sliced apple. Divide the cheese into four equal portions (1.5 ounces) and top the apples. Top the sandwich with the remaining slices of bread. Spread ½ tablespoon of butter onto each of the exposed slices of bread.
- Heat a frying pain over medium heat. Add the sandwiches cooking on each side until golden brown and the cheese is melted through, about 5 minutes per side. Eat and enjoy.