Roasted Garlic: A Gift from the Culinary Gods

roasted-garlic-dressing-with-eggplantRoasted garlic is the perfect example of how one inexpensive ingredient can become an unbelievably flavorful gourmet-level ingredient. All you need is 45 minutes of hands-off time and a little bit of knowledge. And a sheet of aluminum foil. After you’ve roasted your garlic, you can use it immediately or keep it in the refrigerator for a good five days.

I like to use some and save some – maybe I’d immediately smear some onto crackers and serve them as appetizers, for example, and then make a dip with the remainder a few days later. (Roasted garlic hummus, anyone?) You might even want to be energy-efficient and roast more than one head at a time. Mix some with softened butter to make garlic butter for your potatoes, stir a spoonful into soups and sauces for added oomph, spread some on your sandwiches as the ultimate savory condiment…roasted garlic is endlessly versatile.

Roasted Eggplant with Roasted Garlic Dressing

1 head garlic
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2″ thick rounds and laid out on baking trays covered with parchment paper
Balsamic vinegar
Mixed baby greens
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Navy beans OR chickpeas, drained

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut off the very top of the garlic head and place on a large square of aluminum foil. Drizzle a bit of extra-virgin olive oil on the top and shake on some salt and pepper. Fold up foil to cover garlic and place in oven. Roast for 45 minutes. To remove the garlic from their papery covering, let garlic cool until it’s reached room temperature, then squeeze out the entire thing onto a plate, leaving the papery part behind. Garlic will be very sticky! If you want to save some of the garlic for later, only squeeze out a few of the cloves.

If you’d like to optimize your oven time, roast the eggplant along with the garlic. Drizzle the eggplant with a little oil, too, and place in oven along with the garlic. The eggplant will probably be golden brown within 20 minutes. When it hits that stage, pull it out and let the garlic continue to roast.

After you’ve squeezed out the roasted garlic, spoon it into a glass jar. Add equal amounts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then shake the jar like crazy to blend your dressing. Place the lettuce, cherry tomatoes, beans, and the roasted eggplant into a large mixing bowl, spoon on some dressing, and toss well to combine.

Feta cheese and sautéed chicken would be nice additions to this dish. Leftover dressing can be refrigerated for 4 days.


Courtesy of: Lisa Howard Cultured Cook.

You may also like:

Herbal Hummus 101

Giving a Favorite Dressing a New Wardrobe

Getting a Jump on Fresh Herbs

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan LLC

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