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.
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.
It's Halloween party season, which means candy corn, punch bowls with floating eyeballs, lots of pumpkins...