Creamy Oil-Roasted Garlic Dressing
Why This Recipe Works
by Sasha Marx
Roasted garlic is a great way to deliver rich garlic flavor with a more chilled-out vibe than the hard-core raw stuff. See, the vampire-killing pungent aroma of raw garlic is the result of a compound called allicin, which is produced when garlic’s cell walls are damaged and an enzyme called alliinase gets together with a compound called alliin. Don’t worry if that’s allalittleconfusing. The important thing is that we can temper the harsh bite of garlic by heating whole cloves to above 140 degrees F/60 degrees C, which deactivates the alliinase (no enzyme means no sharp garlic bite). If we heat the whole cloves to even higher temperatures, we get rich-tasting Maillard browning.
For this dressing, we use a hybrid roasting-confit method for whole garlic heads. Slow-roasting garlic brings out nutty sweetness. Submerging the garlic in oil while it roasts achieves better browning and results in a flavorful garlic-infused oil. We cook the garlic in a blend of vegetable oil and extra-virgin olive oil in an oven set to 375 degrees F/191 degrees C, much higher than a traditional low-and-slow confit (which usually calls for a 250-degree F/121-degree C oven). Once roasted, the cloves and oil quickly come together into a rich, creamy dressing boosted by white wine vinegar and a touch of tahini and miso for nuttiness and umami. The result is a delicious (and unintentionally vegan!) alternative to Caesar dressing that is great on salad greens, roasted broccoli, and grilled chicken or steak. Or just mop it up with bread. It’s alli-yum.
Photography by Steve Klise
Food Styling by Marie Piraino