Friday, May 7, 2010

Chicken Avocado Salad with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

Now that spring is flirting with summer it's time for salad dinners. The real start of this salad is the roasted tomato and roasted garlic vinaigrette. It's thick and flavourful, more of a condiment than an actual dressing. And any leftovers are wonderful as a topping for crostini, or dipping pita bread, or any salad. It can be done ahead of time. I like it served at room temperature, so if you do make it ahead and store it in the refrigerator, take it out about 30 minutes before you want to serve it.

Roasted Tomato/Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

3 Roma tomatoes, quartered (cut out the stems)
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2-3 T. Olive oil
salt and pepper
1 T. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)

Place the tomatoes and onions in a glass baking dish. Pour over the olive oil and generously salt and pepper it. Sprinkle on the thyme leaves. With your hands toss everything together gently.

1 head garlic
olive oil

Cut the top off the head of garlic to expose the tops of the cloves. Place on a small piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil on top. Bring up the foil to enclose tightly.

Place the glass baking pan with the tomatoes and the sealed garlic head in a 400 degree oven for 45 - 60 minutes. The tomatoes and onions should be beginning to caramelize around the edges. This is good and makes for wonderful flavour.

Let cool.

Unwrap the garlic head and squeeze the cloves into a blender. They are sticky, but oh, so good. Add the tomatoes and all their juices, scraping the bits of caramelization from the pan into the blender. Add

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Serve over a salad of lettuce, grilled chicken and sliced avocado. Yum!