1 head of garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 sprig thyme or rosemary, optional
Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel the outermost layers of papery skin from head. With a very sharp knife, cut top 1/4-inch off heads of garlic to expose cloves. Place garlic in a 10" or more square of foil. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add herbs, if using. Seal foil around head leaving space all around (as if garlic is floating in a bubble of foil.)
Bake until papery skins are golden brown and cloves are tender, between 50 minutes and 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before using.
If using in a recipe, squeeze from skins. If serving as an hors d'oeuvre, present with a small knife for scooping out softened garlic.