The other day as I wandered through the produce section of the grocery store in our village, I spied small jars of garlic paste, four ounces for $2.29. Garlic, salt, preservatives: No, thank you. Instead, I bought eight heads of garlic for $2.50, and in less than two hours -- mostly oven time -- made eight ounces of my own roasted garlic paste with salt and pepper, fresh thyme from the garden, and extra virgin olive oil. Half went into the freezer, some got slathered on bruschetta, and the rest morphed into a roasted garlic salad dressing, mellow and sweet, perfect for a tomato salad or pasta sauce. The method couldn't be easier, and if you're looking for a new favorite salad dressing, this just might be it.
Slice the tops off the garlic heads. You can make one or two at a time, but it's just as easy to make more. Drizzle with salt, pepper and olive oil, and add some thyme from the garden if you have it. Wrap the garlic tightly in aluminum foil, and bake for 1-1/2 hours.
When the garlic is done, it will be lightly browned and very soft, and it will smell like heaven.
Gently squeeze the cloves into a bowl. You will get oil and garlic all over your fingers. Go ahead and lick that off when you've squeezed all of the cloves out.
Mash the cloves gently with a fork to create a rustic garlic paste. Refrigerate or freeze, in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
Roasted garlic salad dressing
Makes 1/2 cup garlic paste; makes 1/4 cup salad dressing, with leftover garlic.
For the roasted garlic paste:
8 whole heads of garlic
1-1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Large pinch of kosher salt
Large pinch of black pepper
Large sprig of fresh thyme (optional, but very nice)
For the dressing:
1 tsp roasted garlic paste
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Slice the top half-inch off each head of garlic. Set the garlic on alumnimum foil on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the garlic with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place the thyme on top. Fold up the foil to seal the packet tightly.
Bake at 400F for 1-1/2 hours, until the tops of the garlic heads are medium-brown and the garlic cloves are soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves into a small bowl. Mash gently with a fork. (At this point, the garlic paste can be refrigerated in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, or frozen.)
To make the dressing, combine 1 teaspoon of the paste with the remaining ingredients in a small jar. Shake vigorously to emulsify the dressing.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
All-purpose agave-balsamic vinaigrette
Ginger-maple-miso salad dressing
Chipotle-balsamic salad dressing
Chicken and avocado lettuce boats with buttermilk Dijon dressing
Potato salad with sesame dressing
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Roasted garlic and onion jam, from Panini Happy
Cannellini beans and roasted garlic, from Sass & Veracity
Roasted garlic pasta salad, from Budget Bytes
Roasted garlic and tomato bruschetta, from My Baking Addiction
Roasted garlic and olive focaccia, from Eclectic Recipes
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