I’ve fallen into the habit of making side salads to go along with so many meals. It’s not my favorite—especially when tomatoes aren’t in season and when I don’t really give much thought to the contents of those salads—but it’s easy. It’s also quick, which is more than I can say for roasted vegetables. Between heating the oven and roasting, we simply don’t have time for that during the week, sadly.
The easiest way to make a salad feel a little less mundane is to make a new dressing. Dressings are both easy to make and incredibly adaptable. Also, they’re delicious. I had a friend tell me once that really the only reason people bother eating salad is because what they really want to eat is dressing. I won’t argue that’s often the case. Sort of like how the only reason to eat red velvet cake is to eat cream cheese frosting. ;)
Roasted garlic is one of my favorite things, and it works really well in a vinaigrette. The garlic is not at all pungent, but just lends some mellow, sweet garlic notes to a very straightforward vinaigrette. Roasting the garlic does take some time, but you can easily roast it ahead of time and make the dressing the day-of, or just make the dressing on a weekend and keep it sealed in the refrigerator for up to a week (which is what we did).
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
1 head of garlic
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + additional for drizzling onto garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425.
Slice the top 1/2″ or so off the head of garlic, so that the tops of the cloves are exposed. Place on a sheet of foil and drizzle with a little olive oil. Wrap the garlic up in the foil, place in the oven, and roast until cloves are very soft, about 45-60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Squeeze the cloves of garlic out and mash with a fork into a paste. Place in a bowl and whisk together with the vinegar. Add the Dijon, whisking to combine. Slowly add the olive oil, while continuing to whisk, until dressing emulsifies and is thoroughly mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.