Simplicity reigns in this salad of butter lettuce and pumpkin seeds. The roasted garlic and apple juice in the vinaigrette add a welcome twist.
What to buy: If you want to intensify the pumpkin flavor, make the vinaigrette with pumpkin seed oil.
Game plan: We roast garlic a few times a week and keep it around to add a subtle layer of flavor to dishes. Put a whole head of garlic in a 400°F oven and roast until the cloves are soft when pressed. Pull off a clove as needed and pinch it between your fingers until the roasted clove slides out.
The vinaigrette develops a more complex flavor as it sits. It can be made up to 5 days ahead, refrigerated, and warmed to room temperature before using. Top romaine, iceberg, or butter lettuce with it.
- Yields: 8 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 10 mins
- 1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
- 3 medium roasted garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider or unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 heads butter lettuce, washed and torn into large pieces
- Toast the pumpkin seeds in a medium frying pan over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Place the garlic, cider vinegar, apple cider or juice, and oil in a blender and blend until smooth and emulsified, about 20 seconds. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Place the lettuce in a large salad bowl, add the dressing, and toss to combine. Garnish with the toasted pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.
Beverage pairing: Serve with a light pilsner, such as Czechvar, or with a British stout, like Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout. If you prefer wine, a glass of Grüner Veltliner from Austria provides just enough fleshiness to accommodate the nutty sweetness of the pumpkin seeds and apple cider in this dish. Look for more fruit-driven vinifications of this white varietal, like the 2005 H.u.M. Hofer Grüner Veltliner or the 2004 Hiedler Thal.