Food + Wine

Roasted Garlic and Herb Aioli

I made one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten over the holiday weekend.  My husband concurs, which says a lot because, as we all know, men know their sandwiches.  I don’t have a picture of the sandwiches themselves because, well…we ate them.  Quickly.  Like savages.  But I can tell you how I made them and show you a lovely picture of the star ingredient- My Roasted Garlic and Herb Aioli.  This stuff is magical.  And I don’t even like mayonnaise!  You can go through the trouble of making an aioli from scratch, and it will be amazing, or just doctor up some store bought mayo like I do here.  But first, here’s how to make the sandwich…

-Roast your favorite summer vegetables, thinly sliced, (Roast a ton here.  They shrink a lot and leftovers can always be used in other sandwiches or omelets, etc), seasoned with some olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar, on 425 for about 20 minutes, or until they become brown and crispy.  Flip them over half way through cooking.  We made ours with squash, zucchini, onions and cherry tomatoes. 
-Spread a thick layer of your Roasted Garlic and Herb Aioli* on both sides of your favorite bread (I have always used toasted ciabatta, pictured below, but this weekend we used some whole wheat flat bread and it was awesome) and lay down a ton of your roasted veggies and a good amount of thinly sliced cucumbers on each side.
-Eat quickly.

This is such a simple but amazingly delicious and complex sandwich.  You have the richness and salty/sweet crunch from the caramelized roasted veggies, combined with the creamy tang from the aioli and bright crispness of the cucumber slices.  My husband and I just kept eating and staring at one another, nodding, with messy hands.  I may have finished mine in less than 5 bites.

Make this now.

*Roasted Garlic and Herb Aioli
(measurements, as usual, are approximate, as I don’t like to measure.  But don’t be deterred from making this if you rely heavily on exact measurements. Just add the smallest amount of everything I say and taste as you go along, adding more whenever necessary.  This will make you a better cook, I promise.)

-In a small mixing bowl, add about 1/4-1/3 cup of mayonnaise, 1-2 TB of dijon, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, the cloves from 1 bulb of roasted garlic**, a large handful of fresh basil and a bit more than half that amount of fresh tarragon leaves, kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
-Use your immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth.  This may take a bit due to the herbs, but be patient.  If it really is being stubborn on you, add more lemon juice or olive oil to get it moving.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  You can always use a small blender or mini food processor if that’s easier for you.
-Keep in the refrigerator, covered, for about a week…if you can last that long.

(**To roast a head of garlic, slice off the very top of the bulb, exposing all the cloves.  Place on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and wrap up the sides of the foil like a purse.  Place in a hot oven and cook til tender (350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or 425 degrees for 15-20.) Allow to cool and squeeze out the tender garlic by squeezing it over your mixing bowl.)

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