20 January 2011

Garlic Two Ways: Roasted Garlic Dressing and Spicy Tomato Soup with Pan-Fried Garlic

Last night I was ready for a light meal at home. My family had just visited from Australia, and they generously took us out for dinner every night. It was fun to try a couple new-to-me restaurants (Umami Burger and Primitivo Wine Bistro), but my body was ready for a night of vegetables.

Soup and salad was just the thing. I decided on a simple Spicy Tomato Soup with Pan-Fried Garlic and turned to the blogs for salad inspiration. Lottie + Doof recently posted an intriguing recipe for a roasted garlic dressing adapted from Urban Italian by Andrew Carmellini. I had found what I was searching for and my course was charted: an exciting night of garlic and vegetables lay ahead.

The roasted garlic is soft and melts into the dressing, infusing it with bold flavor. The dressing isn't wildly different from one using minced garlic, but I enjoyed that the garlic became part of the dressing, rather than merely a thing in the dressing.

The garlic takes about an hour in the oven, but requires no extra work, so it's easy to make while you're throwing together the rest of your meal, or writing those thank you cards you've been putting off from the holidays.

Cook's notes:
I made a few small changes to the recipe because I didn't have all the ingredients. I used:
sherry vinegar as a substitute for rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil instead of a mixture of olive oil and grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in place of Tobasco sauce

While the garlic was roasting, I made the soup. The acidity of the tomatoes gives it a zip that I played up with some cayenne pepper, then balanced out with some grated three-year Wisconsin cheddar cheese. It's simultaneously refreshing, warming and soothing. 

Spicy Tomato Soup with Pan-Fried Garlic, serves 2
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 head garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
pinch of dried mint
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 box (26.46 oz/750g) Pomi Chopped Tomatoes  -- any type of canned tomato will work but I prefer Pomi
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated three year aged cheddar cheese

+Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in soup pan over medium heat. Reserve 2 tablespoons minced garlic and add rest to pan. Cook until beginning to brown, then add seasonings except salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, continue to cook until garlic is crisp and golden brown.

+Pour in tomatoes. Stir. Rinse Pomi box with the water and add to the tomato and spice mixture. Stir together. Once the soup begins to bubble, turn heat down and simmer, covered, about 15 to 20 minutes.

+Meanwhile, in a small pan, melt remaining butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add reserved 2 tablespoons garlic and fry until crisp and golden brown. 

+Next, grate cheese.

+Add salt and pepper to soup. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed, then ladle into two soup bowls. Top with grated cheese,  pan-fried garlic and butter and oil from the pan. Enjoy!

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