The great thing about salads is that they are endlessly customizable. You can easily mix your favorite vegetables and proteins in a bowl with a zesty or creamy salad dressing. When picking ingredients for salads, few probably consider pickled garlic as a viable option -- but if you really want to make your salad stand out, it's a great choice to consider.
Pickled garlic has an abundance of flavors that might make it a new staple in your cooking arsenal, and it will certainly help elevate your salad mixes. You'll get a sweet heat with a slight sourness that pairs well with a vinaigrette. Think of pickled garlic as a substitute for spicy olives in your salad mixes -- both have similar textures and mouthfeel. For those who turn their nose up at garlic and its potent flavor, consider that pickled garlic is generally milder than regular garlic. The vinegar mellows out some of that sharp flavor, allowing you to bite into the cloves on their own without instantly wiping tears from your eyes.
How To Pickle Garlic For Salads
Sure, you can buy pre-made pickled garlic at the store, but if you have some vinegar and garlic around the house, you can make pickled garlic yourself. The process is fairly simple and quick. Before pickling, you should separate your garlic into cloves. Be sure to remove the peel from the cloves, as it is absorbent and will prevent the vinegar from reaching the inner garlic. However, you should consider leaving your garlic cloves wholly intact, and resist the urge to chop them, for ease of use later on.
You should also consider blanching the vegetable prior to pickling. Otherwise, the acidic liquid used to pickle the garlic may trigger a chemical reaction, causing the cloves to turn blue or green. While the vegetable will still be edible and perfectly delicious, the color may be off-putting to you and your guests. To blanch the garlic, simply boil the cloves for a minute and then toss them into a bath of ice water.
When it comes to the choice of vinegar, almost any clear kind will do. However, you may want to avoid using stronger kinds of vinegar, like the malt or balsamic variety. These have a strong taste that can overpower the flavors of your garlic. Red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, unseasoned rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and sherry vinegar are all great options for pickling your garlic. You'll also want to throw some kosher salt into the mix, as iodized table salt may also contribute to discoloration.
Ingredients For A Pickled Garlic Salad
While you can throw pickled garlic into almost any salad to elevate it, you should pair the pickled veggie with ingredients that complement its flavor. When deciding on a base for your salad, consider some earthy greens like arugula, flat-leaf parsley, tarragon leaves, or spinach. The tangy sweetness of the pickled garlic pairs well with something that is a little more herby than say, the bright crispness of iceberg lettuce.
If you want to add more crunch to your salad, then consider adding sautéed bell peppers, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts to the mix. These vegetables have a stronger flavor that will prevent them from being lost to the garlic's potent flavors. Alternatively, if you're looking for some vegetables that won't distract from your pickled garlic, then consider adding cooked potatoes or green beans to the mix. Both vegetables complement pickled garlic, but let the veggie take the main stage.
Likewise, when choosing a dressing, you'll want the condiment to play well with your pickled garlic flavor. Sorry ranch lovers, but you may want to consider a different option. A tangy vinaigrette or even a drizzling of balsamic vinegar mixed with a bit of raw sugar will do well in bringing the salad together.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.